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  1. The only way to get the unwanted pet problem under control is to have state licensing laws where licenses for spayed and neutered dogs are $10-$15 a year and intact dogs are $100 or more. Once it hits the owners pocketbooks, they will become much more responsible about their pets (or not have any). Breeders will need to have special licenses, so that would cut down on your backyard breeders who breed (or allow) their dogs to breed indiscriminately. The revenue raised from licenses will give the shelters money for salaries for dog wardens to see that owners are taking care of their animals as they should be and also provide money for inexpensive spays and neuters.
    I have been rescuing dogs for 60 years, and I saw how licensing changed the unwanted dog situation up North. I worked for a vet in Washingtonville, NY when I was in my 20s. He was also dog warden. We euthanized many unwanted pets at that time. It was then that I started finding homes for unwanted dogs (what we now call rescue), About 10 years ago the rescue I was working with in NC was transporting dogs to Washingtonville because they no longer had stray dogs. Licensing and strict fines are the only way to correct the problem. More and more rescues are popping up, and yes, even with Covid, more pets are getting out of the shelters, but there has not been a decrease of irresponsible, uncaring, heartless owners dumping dogs in shelters or abandoning them on the side of the road. They are the criminals. Most shelters now, such as the ones in southwest Virginia and the ones I see in North Carolina are doing everything they can to save animals. Let’s push for legislation to get licensing laws!!!

    1. YES! licensing would make a huge difference. It will be a challenge to get southern lawmakers to add a new ‘tax’ but it can and should be done. That and increased access/availability for spay/neuter truly could fix so much of the problem and would help demonstrate that the states and counties value these animals and the role they play in our lives.

      1. Our county (Moore) has a 6 week program that trained volunteers teach to all the 4th graders (in both the public and private schools) called Pet Owner Responsibility. It emphasizes spaying/neutering (aside from teaching general good care of pets) and shows the kids how one cat or dog can produce several hundred kittens/puppies in a couple of years–and what happens to the unwanted ones. The intention is that, even though the parents may have the good ole boy attitude towards animals, the younger generation will understand the tragedy of allowing pets to breed indiscriminately and become responsible pet owners. Most of the parents are very receptive of the information, but we do have those who believe that it is cruel to take away the animal’s natural right to propagate.

        At the end of the six weeks, all the kids are supposed to write an essay about why they want to have their pet spayed/neutered, and the winner is awarded a free spay/neuter at our spay/neuter clinic. The kids really enjoy the break from their regular school routine, and most have no trouble paying attention. They even have a certified therapy dog visit and get petted during the last class.
        Hopefully, the program is accomplishing what it was designed to do. https://www.sandhillskids.com/2011/10/moore-county-pet-responsibility/

        1. That is brilliant! What an incredibly smart, progressive program. I wish we could put it in place everywhere. We will definitely check it out. I think North Carolina, for all its struggles, does a lot of things right when it comes to sheltering.