Wanted: More responsible pet owners

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The opening of a larger, more comfortable animal shelter in Rocky Mount this week is a boon to the city and a cause for celebration among animal lovers. Now, if only we could reach a day when it isn’t necessary.

The city spent $160,000 to buy and renovate a kennel on Church Street that shut down last year. The refurbished facility can accommodate about 40 dogs and 30 cats, as Telegram staff writer Brie Handgraaf reported this week. That’s double the capacity of the previous shelter.

And still, it isn’t enough.

The city took in more than 1,400 animals last year and euthanized more than half of them. That, despite a strong relationship with local rescue groups and foster home services and volunteers for pets.

The high rate of euthanasia isn’t the fault of the city. It rests with irresponsible pet owners who don’t bother to have their pets sterilized.

Unwanted puppies and kittens soon grow into adult animals with nowhere to live.

Those are the unfortunate clients who wind up at the city’s animal shelter.

If you own a pet, please do the right thing. Have it spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters. That will go a long way to reduce the number of animals that can’t be placed into homes.

The new animal shelter is bigger and newer than the city’s previous facility. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it sat empty?