The Finney County Humane Society is very concerned about the local problem of pet overpopulation and we are asking for your help. We need your ideas as to how we can get more people to take responsibility for their pets and to have them spayed or neutered. Even though people may hear us repeatedly talk about the need to spay or neuter, that idea does not seem to be sinking in to those responsible for contributing to the problem.

The new shelter, that doubled the number of animals that it can hold, is now taking in enough animals to keep it full most of the time. That includes a very large number of litters of puppies and kittens. Some litters were unplanned and some were planned as a way to make money. Then, when homes can't be found, the animals end up at the shelter. To help make the public aware of the problem, the FCHS has provided education in the schools. We have had booths at events to educate the public. The Garden City Telegram has helped us by writing articles. We have provided information to the public as to how many dogs and cats have been euthanized at the shelter. We have offered, and still do, help to low-income individuals with the cost of a spay or neuter and we offer a rebate to those that adopt from the shelter and follow through with the required surgery. We have had shelter cats spayed or neutered so that their adoption fee is significantly lower and so that we can be sure that those cats will never reproduce. But now, along with running low on spay/neuter funds, we have also run out of ideas and that is where the public can help.

What do you think that we can do, to help make people take responsibility for their own animals and to help people to understand that every litter of puppies or kittens that are allowed to be born are hurting the animals that are already looking for homes? Pet owners cannot think that one litter doesn't make a difference because every litter contributes to the problem. A large number of those litters born will themselves end up at the shelter in the future and be euthanized. Puppy mills do exist in Finney County. No, it is not best for a dog or cat to have one litter before they are fixed. And, that "backyard breeders" should not be allowed to continue to produce puppies because there are already more Chihuahuas, Labs, Boxers, Pit Bulls and other breeds than there are homes.

If you have an idea of what we can do to help raise awareness, write to us at FCHS, P.O. Box 2031, Garden City, KS 67846. Or, provide your feedback to The Garden City Telegram, either by mail at P.O. Box 958, Garden City, KS 67846 or online at SWKTalk.com.

GLENDA HOPKINS,

Garden City,

on behalf of the

Finney County

Humane Society Board