This year’s National Dog Week theme has centered on Kids and Canines. It is a wide and varied topic, and covers lots of ground. In keeping with this theme, I’ve asked young Sean Martin, a 13 year-old animal advocate and actor, to write about his work on behalf of homeless animals. With the help of his mom, Melanie, and other family members, Sean helped to create Kids Adopt a Shelter a few years ago, and has given a lot of thought to making some changes in the lives of our Companion Animals. Here he demonstrates how thoughts, when put into words can inspire one to act (and not only for the camera in this case)! To learn more about Seans’ work, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/KidsAdoptaShelter
Sean has been working with John Vendito, mayor of Oyster Bay, New York, and John’s son, Mike Vendito, Nassau County Legislator, to put some of his ideas into action. Recently, I asked Sean to write about his current mission and here is what he told me:
The most important issues I feel facing the dog population of the nation are backyard breeding, puppy mills, kill shelters, lack of low cost spay and neuter, dog fighting, BSL (breed specific legislation), animal abuse, and the lack of enforcement of animal abuse laws.
I feel backyard breeding and puppy mills are an issue because there are tons of irresponsible people bringing dogs into this world and most wind up not finding homes, and the ones that are not adopted wind up in awful situations. I also feel that dogs should not be permitted to be sold in pet stores, most of the dogs found in pet stores have heath issues and their parents are mistreated and they are inbred which creates more health issues. My solution for these issues would be mandatory licenses for breeders, which would include spontaneous and frequent check-ups, and if they violated the conditions of their licenses, they would lose them, they would be heavily fined, and they would also lose their rights to their animals.
Kill shelters exist due to overpopulation of animals and it is the easiest and cheapest way to run a “shelter.” I think kill shelters should be brought down and animals should only be put down in certain conditions; if they are hurt very badly, reaching old age and have an illness for which there is no cure. The best way to end this and bring those kill shelters down, or turn them into adoption centers is to make laws against animal murder. I think it is murder to give a dog 2 to 7 days to be claimed before being put down in a shelter. We need to make it easier for these animals to be adopted, and help them by giving them all the things they need such as supplies and medicine. Shelters can use these resources to help homeless animals find good homes instead of killing them.
The high cost of spaying and neutering is another reason we have an animal overpopulation problem. It’s easy to make it inexpensive and I think that all shelters and adoption centers should have FREE spay and neuter programs and that every shelter, adpotion center, or breeder should spay and neuter the animals before they go to a new home. I also think that it should be a law to have animals spayed or neutered, if you have animals that are not spayed or neutered, and you can lose your animals if they are not. The only people who could adopt an animal that is not spayed, or neutered, would be a licensed breeder. It’s so much less expensive to Spay and Neuter then to provide 4-10 puppies everything they need, its even less expensive to Spay and Neuter a male and female then to Euthanize 4-10 unwanted dogs. Spay and Neuter should be mandatory.
I think a lot of these issues go hand in hand, I think it all goes to Spay and Neutering. We can save so many animals if we stop them from having unwanted babies. Everyone thinks their dog is the best and they want puppies, but those puppies have puppies, and then we wind up with a major crisis on our hands like we have now.
I am working with legislation for my “Laws for Paws Kids” project, and I plan to work with government to make real changes. I know a lot of people think it’s wrong to make spay and neutering mandatory, but it’s also wrong to KILL dogs. I want to end Puppy mills by creating harsher breeding laws, and end the sale of dogs in pet stores, which will put puppy mills out of business. I want to end Breed Specific Legislation and, “blame the deed not the breed.” I want to help shelters with my Kids Adopt a Shelter mission by off-setting costs so they can stop the killing of innocent dogs and become true NO KILL. I want to pass laws to mandate Spay and neutering and enforce licenses for breeders and end backyard breeding. I want the government to enforce animal abuse laws and make harsher penalties for animal abuse.
I know it seems like I want to do a lot but I am a kid and I have a long time to get these things done. Please support my missions! Thanks.
Happy National Dog Week everyone, and thank you, Sean, for all you do and to so many out there who care and work hard for change. National Dog Week is officially observed the last full week of September, but it’s spirit can be shared all year round.