Earlier this week, the Tristate was up in arms after learning that Donna, the worlds oldest hippo in captivity who had resided at Mesker Park Zoo here in Evansville, was to be euthanized due to her failing health. Donna was the talk at water coolers every where, but what about all of the perfectly healthy dogs and cats that are put to death every day?

Please don't get me wrong. The loss of Donna was not an easy one. She had been a permanent fixture in Evansville for more than 50 years, and she was days away from celebrating her 61st birthday. I am sure that the decision the euthanize Donna was not an easy one for her care givers or her veterinary staff. It's my understanding that she had gone into renal failure, and that she was in pain. The zoo made a decision to euthanize an animal, who in the wild, would have never lived to be 60 years old. In fact, in the wild she likely would have suffered a far less humane death. Donna was treated with adoration, love, and compassion for the last 50 years. Donna had lived a full, and healthy life, bringing joy to thousands of peoples lives, may she rest in piece.

 

The voices that were raised in outrage over the euthanasia of Donna got me thinking... Where is the outrage over the thousands of healthy dogs and cats that are put to sleep all across the country - even right here in the Tristate? The overpopulation caused by unaltered pets belonging to irresponsible pet owners contributes greatly to the staggering numbers. These are animals who have never known love outside of a shelter environment. They've never known the joy of a forever home, a warm lap, a cozy bed to sleep, or warm window ledge to gaze out from. They have never known the companionship of a family. These animals, that are not sick, and are guilty of only being born, are being put to death, some by injection, some less humanely, and it's happening every single day in shelters all across the country.

 

Many of these animals have known families and a home, and are surrendered by their owners for any number of reasons, more often than not, not at the fault of the animal. These animals, that loved their owners unconditionally, are abandoned and left behind, alone & scared. Again, animals that are perfectly healthy, with many more years of life left. Most of the time these owners think "well, I can't keep Fluffy, but he's cute so he'll get adopted quickly into a loving home." Reality is, they are all cute, and there just are not enough loving homes, and adoptive families and fosters.

Some of these animals have known human contact outside of the shelter, and their only knowledge of human behavior would give you chills and make you sick to your stomach if you knew the horrendous treatment that they've endured. For many of the animals in shelters all across the country, the only kindness and the only regular meal they will ever know come from the shelter volunteers who care for these animals.

So I ask you this: What is truly the greater tragedy? The peaceful passing of a hippo who lived a long, healthy life and was loved and adored by all or the thousands of shelter animals that are put to death because of the negligence of humans and lack of loving homes?

Please spay and neuter your pets. Please adopt from your local shelter. Please foster and give an animal a chance to be adopted into a forever home.

Want to adopt, volunteer or donate? Contact your local shelter or rescue:

All of these locations have adoptable dogs and cats. Some even have small animals for adoption as well.