Rescue Me is a project to combat the greatest preventable cruelty inflicted upon dogs, cats and rabbits which is pet overpopulation. Each year in Canada, tens of thousands of unwanted dogs and cats are put to sleep because lasting, loving homes cannot be found for them. There are an estimated 7.3 million dogs, 8.3 million cats and tens of thousands of rabbits in Canadian households. Surveys indicate that at least 6 out of 10 families share their homes and their lives with their pets. We plan to adopt more animals and reduce pet overpopulation through a series of sustained long term initiatives involving engaging creative multimedia campaigns; and by working even more closely with breed rescue groups, rescue groups, foster homes and animal shelters; and through low-cost spaying and neutering services and the use of non-surgical methods; and pet license and id fee differentials; and by improving lost and found services; and by encouraging training courses for pet owners; and conflict resolution between landlords and pet owners.
Saving lives is a long term program of The Humane Society of Canada, which must be sustained over the next ten years in order to achieve meaningful and measurable deliverables and results.
This challenge also drains scarce human and financial resources from charities and taxpayers, which could be used to address other urgent problems facing animals. However, perhaps worst of all, the death of each animal, is an obstacle to the moral progress of society as a whole – because it reinforces the view that animals are disposable and that we have no obligation to seek an end to a problem that has plagued society for generations and whose solution lies within our grasp. The way we treat animals is a reflection of the way in which we treat each other.
In just six years, two dogs and their offspring can theoretically be the source of 67,000 puppies. Cats, able to have three litters per year, are even more prolific. In theory, over a seven-year period, two cats and their offspring can produce 420,000 kittens. Rabbits can start having babies anywhere from three to six months of age, and females can become pregnant within days of having a litter. Theoretically, two rabbits and their offspring can produce 8,388,608 kits in a seven-year period. The death of each animal shifts the blame away from irresponsible pet owners and onto the shoulders of humane societies who must bear the moral, ethical and practical burdens of coping with this problem.