Valdosta Daily Times 

There is no doubt we have way too many feral and stray cats in our community.

Providing food and water to feral populations may seem humane but not trapping them for the purpose of spaying or neutering only exasperates the problem.

While feral cats are often not adoptable because of a total lack of socialization, many strays can make great house pets with just a bit of care and attention.

This is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. Whether a cat, dog or other pet, we encourage readers to always consider shelter animals in need of a home.

Almost every week, we feature photos of animals up for adoption at the local animal shelter.

Pet adoption just makes sense. Adopting a pet from a shelter more often than not saves an animal’s life. Shelters, pet-fostering “parents” and animal-rescue groups have a much wider variety of pets than most people realize.

No matter what you are looking for, regardless of breed, size, temperament or age, there are dogs, cats and other pets needing a forever home.

Many families will find that by adopting an older pet they can avoid some of the issues often associated with bringing a puppy or kitten into the home.

Some people just aren’t well suited for house training, coping with a chewing puppy that is teething or getting a cat used to its litter box.

While there are basic fees associated with pet adoption, there is no comparison to the cost of purchasing an animal from a pet store or a breeder. Literally millions of dogs and cats are put to death each year, because they have no home.

Yet, millions of people bring a new pet into their homes each year, often paying a store or breeder hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for the animal.

Generally animals adopted from shelters are spayed or neutered before they go to their new home.

Lowndes County Animal Welfare says basic animal care includes: — A rabies vaccination — it’s the law. — Proper shelter and protection from the elements.

— Constant access to fresh, clean water.

— Proper nutrition. — Heart worm prevention. — A microchip. — An annual vet exam. — Spaying/neutering. Violators of Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta’s Animal Welfare Ordinance appear in court on a regular basis to face cruelty and neglect charges, according to county officials, adding that failing to take proper care of a pet is considered to be a serious offense, that could result in hefty fines and even jail time.

So, we encourage our readers if you are considering bringing a pet into your homes, visit an animal shelter first and have serious family discussions about the responsibilities of pet ownership before adopting your new pet.

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