Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - With each passing year, cats and dogs are less likely to die in an animal shelter. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that this year fewer than 4 million cats and dogs will be euthanized - less than one fifth of those put to sleep just a few decades ago.
Euthanizing cats and dogs is no longer the primary answer for overpopulation. Spaying and neutering have become common practice and animal shelters like Wanderers' Rest Humane Association in Canastota say this is why fewer animals need to be taken off of the streets and put to sleep.
"We've actually seen a decrease in the number of cats and the number of puppies which is great. Our shelter offers spay neuter for low income families, and we also spay neuter all pets before they're adopted out," said Denise Adams of Wanderers' Rest.
New York State requires that animals are fixed by the time of adoption and Wanderers' Rest is working to teach people about the health and behavioral benefits of doing so. They believe education about the subject will help control the stray population.
That's also cutting down on the number of calls the Syracuse Animal Control Center sees. In fact, calls about stray dogs are down by about 100 this year. But they say their work isn't done until that number is cut down to zero.
"Any dog that doesn't go home, that's a stray dog problem. Any dog that gets hurt or injured in the street, that's a stray dog problem," said Shane Chimber.
And through the work of Animal Control and shelters like Wanderers' Rest, those problems could soon be solved.
The Syracuse Animal Control Center encourages anyone who sees a wandering animal to call 422-4970. They say getting the animals off the street fast is important for controlling the stray population, and someone is available to help 24 hours a day.