Local animal shelters and breeders help pets find homes (includes multimedia content)

When choosing between adopting or purchasing a pet, it’s important to understand which might be the better option.

There are several ways you can adopt; animal shelters or rescues are often the most accessible option. Local governments fund and staff animal shelters. Rescues are usually run by volunteers and are funded by donations.

Buying a pet is also another option to consider. Breeders often breed purebred dogs and many do this for a living. Some puppy mills might be a route you can take, but they are often frowned upon due to some treating dogs inhumanely.

“Personally, my family decided to go to a dog breeder because we wanted a specific breed that are not easily found on shelters,” said dog owner Elena Profar, 22.

According to the Canine Journal, 70% of puppy mills in the in the United States are illegal and three million puppies are born from puppy mills every year.

Choosing a breeder can be a safe option for someone who wants a specific breed; many of them are reputable and professional. Responsible breeders are not in it for the cash. They genuinely enjoy breeding and raising animals until they can find the perfect home for them.

Respectable breeders will give you a lifetime of guidance, help you choose the puppy most suitable for you and your family, and if something would ever happen, they would take the puppy back and give them a home.

“We wanted a pure bread golden retriever, even though it was more expensive than going to the shelter. We were ensured that our dog was healthy and that there weren’t any complications,” said Profar.

However, there are some breeders who don’t have much care for the animals they produce and are more interested in the profit they might make.

If you are planning on purchasing a dog instead of adopting, due diligence should be a priority. Make sure the breeders are at the very least respectable in their field.

“When we were looking to buy our dog, we visited three different breeders. Many of them did not have the space to store and care for these puppies,” said dog owner Joana Vargas, 55. “Most of them were in it for the money.”

Even though buying a furry friend might have its benefits, animal shelters can be more affordable than purchasing a puppy from a breeder.

Every year throughout the month of August, a campaign ran by NBC and Telemundo called ‘Clear the Shelters’ helped shelters find animals homes by giving them a platform in a national scale and organizing events in local shelters throughout the country.

Since 2015, they have found homes for more than 800 thousand pets and close to 13 thousand in 2022 alone. Many of these shelters face over population which leads to many of these animals being euthanized.

Euthanasia is essentially putting a living creature (usually a dog or cat) down in a humane way. This has become a problem in the United States. Thirty-six percent of animals in shelters get euthanized every year, that’s around 2.7 million according to Petful.

“Our dog was very close to being euthanized actually,” said shelter dog owner Patricia Velez, 32. “He was sick for a couple of months before we saw him at the shelter. They told us about his situation, and we decided to give him a home. Ever since we adopted him his health improved; it’s been 3 years.”

Many shelters take in the unwanted pets to help them find new homes, but they must deal with huddlers along the way. Having clean shelter still does not prevent animals from catching life-threating illnesses.

Some diseases that might be treatable for your pet at home can be challenging to treat for in shelters due to the spread ability of these diseases, and the cost of treatment. Most shelters have little funding, so the most humane way to help them is to put them down.

Overpopulation might be the number one reason animals get euthanized. This problem leaves shelters across the country overwhelmed with overcrowding, giving them no other option but to euthanized the animals that might be less adoptable, to give room to those who might have a better chance.

“Adopting a pet from a shelter is such a rewarding experience. You’re essentially saving the pets life, you are giving them another chance at life, and they repay you with endless love and affection,” said Velez.

The ‘Clear the Shelters’ campaign has teamed up with local shelters across the country and Florida, if you are looking to adopt a pet you can find shelters near you here:

Victor is a student at Florida International University majoring in journalism. He's main interests include writing stories about sports and films.