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To the editor:

We at Four Paws Rescue would like to thank everyone who adopts an animal from a rescue or shelter rather than from questionable sources like a puppy mill or a backyard breeder.

We would like to remind people who adopt to be sure that they have carefully thought about bringing an animal into their family and that they are committed to keeping their pet the rest of its life, which could be 10 to 20 years. They should also be sure that they have the financial stability to provide for their pets’ needs,

including food and veterinary care. It is very hard on cats and dogs to be passed around from place to place, and many dogs develop severe separation anxiety when they go through multiple homes. Cats are vulnerable to various diseases as a result of displacement stress.

Four Paws has performed rescue services in Cache Valley for over 25 years, and we know there are lots of great people here who care deeply about their animals. Please remember to take the time to think about this commitment before bringing home a pet to join your family. Remember that they have feelings too and can be harmed by frequent rehoming.

We would also like to again mention the lack of a government-provided animal shelter in this county. If you were to do some research, you would find that counties and cities who have the same population we have almost always have shelters to provide care for homeless animals and services to community animals and their residents. There is no question that building a full-service facility is expensive, but it can be done as evidenced by so many city and county facilities. It will take a partnership of the county and communities to fund and plan a shelter. Communities could contribute based on size and need, and, of course, the residents would have to support this effort. In addition, donations from private benefactors could help further the project. The newspaper reported a local benefactor has agreed to fund TNR and to donate to the construction of a new facility for Cache Humane Society. Many individuals would like to see this happen because they have experienced looking for help and have been turned away because facilities are full. This week Four Paws Rescue has received 30 requests for assistance with cats and kittens. Current efforts are well intentioned but are band-aids on a huge problem.

Of course, the long-term solution to the animal overpopulation problem rests with the public.

Please be kind to your animals and spay or neuter your pets!

Julie Hatch

Smithfield