Overpopulation in companion animals
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The phenomenon of overpopulation in companion animals refers to the large number of abandoned domestic cats and dogs. Iguanas and other exotic animals are also frequently abandoned by owners due to their size, and to the difficulty in caring for them. In the United States alone, between 5-7,000,000 animals are brought to shelters each year. 3-4,000,000 of those animals are subsequently euthanized. This is due to the limited number of adoptions and the fact that most shelters do not have the resources for the long-term care of these animals. As a result, most humane societies, animal shelters and rescue groups urge animal caregivers to have their animals spayed or neutered to prevent the births of unwanted and accidental litters.
Effects upon animals Unwanted dogs and cats may have been acquired from any source. When dogs or cats are an impulse purchase, they often end up in a shelter because the owner did not consider, or understand the amount of time and money full-time pet care takes. Large numbers of animals are placed in shelters by pet owners each year for reasons such as moving, allergies, behavioral problems, and lack of time or money. Another common reason for surrendering a pet is because of milestones, like marriage or the birth of a new baby. 
Shelters take in approximately seven-million animals a year and it is estimated that at least half are euthanized each year. A lot of these animals are losing their lives solely for the reason of overpopulation. This number would be less if people took better care of their pets and also if they stuck to their commitment they make when making the decision to bring an animal into their care. Spay and neutering your cats and dogs is one of the biggest ways you can help the issues of animal over-population. Not only that, it has a lot of other benefits to it as well including eliminating the risks of mammary cancer in the female animals. Vaccinations and check-ups are also a big part of the commitment you make to your pet and can help keep animals healthy and keep them from wanting to be given up. Most shelters offer low priced clinics to help get these things done and reduce the problem of having too many animals in the shelter. 
One contributing factor in companion animal homelessness is the cultural preference for young, purebred, animals. Many people who prefer purebred animals choose to purchase them, often at significant cost, from breeders. One reason some owners choose to purchase a pet through a breeder or store is because people know what size and characteristics the animal will eventually have. This is not often possible with puppies acquired at a shelter. It should be noted, however, that approximately 25% of the dogs who enter animal shelters are purebred. 
Recognizing the high demand for purebred animals, some people choose to engage in backyard breeding or operate puppy mills. This practice, where operators breed purebred animals for profit, is often without concern for the health or welfare of the animals involved. These animals may be sold through pet stores or directly from the breeders themselves.
Additionally, individuals seeking purebred animals may not realize that a homeless animal adopted from a shelter can have many advantages: often the shelter will have performed all necessary veterinary procedures, such as spaying or neutering, vaccination, deworming, microchipping, etc. Also, the personality of a kitten or puppy is not always an indicator of how the animal will behave in adulthood. Many shelter animals have reached adulthood and their personalities are apparent, allowing the would-be caregiver to select an animal with a personality that suits them. However, disease issues should be considered with shelter animals. Some shelter animals are transported to Northern states where there is no overpopulation problem. Such animals may be incubating disease or have parasites. Animals without a documented history may also have behavioral issues.
There are several nonprofit organizations that are attempting to solve the problems associated with the overpopulation of animals, like euthanasia and high costs, through spay and neuter services.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) 
- American Humane Association 
- Sante D'or Foundation in Southern California 
- Pet Project Rescue in the Twin Cities in Minnesota 
- AnimalKind in North Carolina 
- Project CatSnip in Georgia
- many, many others
Dealing with a population of unwanted companion animals is a major concern to animal welfare and animal rights groups. Companion animal overpopulation can also be an ecological concern. It is also a financial problem: capturing, impounding and eventual euthanasia costs taxpayers and private agencies millions of dollars each year.
- No-kill shelter: an animal shelter that does not euthanize animals due to overpopulation
- Animal shelter
- Cat colony
- The Humane Society of the United States. "HSUS Pet Overpopulation Estimates : The Humane Society of the United States". Humanesociety.org. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Pet Overpopulation". Americanhumane.org. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- American Humane Association. N.p., 20 Sept. 2011. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://www.americanhumane.org/>. The Anti-Cruelty Society. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. <http://www.anticruelty.org/spayneuterfacts>.ASPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://www.aspca.org/about-us/faq/pet-statistics.aspx>.Dumb Friends League . N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2013. <http://www.ddfl.org/services/spay-and-neuter-help>. Jefferson Country Sheriff's Office. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2013. <http://jeffco.us/sheriff/sheriff_T62_R29.htm >.Ramey, David. Science Based Medicine. N.p., 11 Jan. 2009. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. <http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/animal-vaccinations/>.
- "Pet Statistics". ASPCA. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Puppy Mills : The Humane Society of the United States". Humanesociety.org. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- "ASPCA Launches National Relocation Program for Shelter Animals". Prweb.com. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- "The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals". ASPCA. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Sante D'Or Foundation - An Atwater Village Animal Rescue —". Santedor.org. 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Pet Project Rescue". Pet Project Rescue. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "**". Animalkind.org. Retrieved 2012-07-24.
- "Project Catsnip — Experts in Feline Spay-Neuter". Projectcatsnip.com. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- "New Research Exposes High Taxpayer Cost For ‘Eradicating’ Free-Roaming Cats". Prweb.com. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- National Council on Pet Population
- ASPCA Official Website
- Addressing the Problem of Pet Overpopulation: The Experience of New Hanover County Animal Control Services
- American Humane Association on pet overpopulation
- AnimalKind in NC
- Chesley V. Morton v. Georgia Department of Agriculture and Tommy Irvin in his Official Capacity as Commissioner