Why do people abandon Pets?



One big reason there are hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs wandering the streets, vacant lots, rural areas, highways, etc., are the many owners who don’t properly care for their animals, or who think that their pets know how to take care of themselves.

Stray behind a wood fence

Family members grumble about how much time the cat or dog takes up during the day. The kid wanted a pet and now won’t take care of it. They are tired of putting up with the problem.

Female cats and dogs keep having litters and no one needs all these useless animals in the world. Puppies and kitties should know not to eat things that will poison them. No one has the money to waste on Vets. They want too much money for what they do.

The dog barks and digs holes in the back yard. The cat digs in the flower beds, and pees on a pile of newspapers in the back hall.

The boy wanted a pet, so he got a dog for his birthday. He promised he’d take care of him. Well, that lasted about a week. Can’t get the kid to feed the dog, take him for a walk, clean up the poop in the back yard. He was told that the dog would have to go if he didn’t take care of him.

In reality, a lot of people don’t realize the amount of time and money that goes into properly caring for an animal. They don’t know that a well cared for pet can be with the family for at least 10 or more years.

Parents must teach a child how to care for a pet. Children should not be expected to take full responsibility for a live creature.

Eventually, the subject of what to do with the cat or dog, comes to the surface. In conversation, the reference changes. A pet is a beloved creature who is part of the family, well-cared for, even spoiled. The “animal”, or “it”, is a problem or a nuisance.

The family seeks a way to rid themselves of an unwanted pet.

What Happens to Abandoned Animals?

Millions of dogs find themselves dumped on the streets each year. Literally thrown from a moving car or truck. If they are lucky, they aren’t hit by a passing car. Countless others are driven out into the country and left to live or die.

Female dogs, ready to have a litter, are left in a garbage dump. Sometimes, just the puppies are dumped. Many of these animals die a lonely, long, agonizing death. Some are rescued and taken to overcrowded shelters.

A lot of dog owners do not spay or neuter their pets. However, dumping female dogs will not slow down the large number of unwanted litters each year. Even abandoned animals will reproduce at least once a year.

It’s instinct. It’s nature’s way of replacing dogs that died. Dogs operate on instinct. They do not have a human’s ability to reason.

Nothing good happens to an abandoned animal. Abandoning an animal, a family pet, is about the same as killing it. They cannot find their way home or hunt adequately to feed themselves.

unwanted dog sleeps on street

They end up as street animals–with people and kids throwing things at them and yelling at them– or in a shelter along with too many other unfortunate creatures.

And that is just in the U.S. In many countries, abandoned dogs die in the cruelest ways–Electrocution, gassed, incineration, or poisoned. Any way to get rid of them.

Cats fare little better. They end up in garbage areas, abandoned buildings, overgrown areas, anywhere they can hide. Newborn kittens are very fragile. If they are left unattended for very long, they will die.

Mother cats are desperate to hide their newborn and are most protective. Even if an attempt is made to rescue them, the mother cat is a fierce opponent.

Why are Animals Abandoned?

There is no real honest reason to ever abandon a pet. Cats, dogs and even horses that have been dependent upon their owners for food, water, shelter, healthcare and affection should never be left without any way of survival.

Nevertheless, there are a number of situations when humans feel that they have no choice but to get rid of the four legged family members.

1.Illness: Some animals have, or develop, serious health issues and need special care. Some owners cannot handle the extra expense and do not have the time to care for them.

2.Behavior: Some animals exhibit destructive behavior, and owners are unable to curb that behavior.

3.Money: A pet is expensive to keep. There are Vet bills and the continuing cost of food and other incidentals.

4.Moving: The family is relocating and do not want the added problems of moving with the pet.

5.Age: Older dogs are more likely to be abandoned.

6.Boredom: Children often consider a pet a toy. When the child gets bored, the parents may consider abandoning the pet.

7.Illness or death of owner: The family doesn’t know what to do with the pet. They have many things to attend to with the loss of a loved one, and they just decide to abandon it.

8.New baby in the family: When the baby comes–the pet has to go.

9.Vacation time: Instead of finding a place or person to leave the pet for a week or two- they simply abandon it.

10.Unwanted litters: Owners don’t spay their female pets and when the litters come, they abandon both mother and babies.

11.No longer profitable: People who breed, race or fight animals, discard the older animals when they are no longer worth feeding and caring for.

Things to consider before adopting a Pet

A pet is a serious responsibility. It’s not a decision to take lightly. A pet depends upon its owner for love, shelter, food and health care. Pets give their owners unconditional love. They do not deserve to be abandoned for any reason.

There are a number of questions that people should consider before adopting a pet.

1st–take plenty of time to think about it.

2nd- Ask yourself why do you want a pet?

3rd-Have you consulted your spouse or significant other?

4th-Do you have the finances to care for a pet?

5th-Are you willing to find a Veterinarian for your pet’s health needs?

Animals need periodic checkups just like people do.

6th-Are you willing to take your pet to training classes-especially if you ‘re looking to adopt a dog or a horse.

7th-Do you accept the fact that your cat, dog, horse, need adequate shelter?

8th- Are you willing to commit to the years your pet may live?

A cat can live up to 20 years. A dog will live up to 16 years, depending upon the breed and size. A horse can live 25 years depending upon breed and level of care.

9th-If you find that it is absolutely impossible to keep your pet, because of finances, or illness or a move across country, are you willing to do everything possible to find your pet a new home, or at least leave it with the Humane Society, or a local reputable shelter?

What if the pet owner can no longer keep the pet?

Remember, a pet is a family member. Pet owners have an obligation to a living being. It is not a houseplant. Throwing it in the garbage is not an option.

First, check with family members and friends. One of them may be willing to take the animal and care for it.

Next, check with shelters that work especially with cats or dogs to place them in new homes. If there are local bulletin boards or weekly flyers, place notices on them or in them.

Check with local Vets. Most of them will put up a notice, or may actually know of someone who is looking for a cat or a dog. Some vets will take your pet and care for it themselves or until they can find a home for it. Check with the local Humane Society or Rescue Shelters. They try to find new homes for pets.

For those who live in rural areas, it may be harder to find helpful resources, but check with hardware stores, farm supply stores and Veterinarians for assistance.

Put a notice in the local newspaper(s) and on local radio stations.


To some people, all of this may seem like a lot of fuss over a cat or a dog. However, most people love their pets and believe that they deserve the best care. Animals perform a service to people. And they do it for a pat on the head, a good meal and a nice place to sleep.

Some dogs are taught to be service dogs and perform a valuable service to blind and handicapped folks. People who suffer from depression and other psychological distress rely upon their pets to give them a reason to live from day to day.

Dogs are trained to perform missions in war. They work with police and fire fighters to save people’s lives. Dogs and cats are wonderful visitors in hospitals and nursing homes. They bring much happiness to the sick and confined.

There is never a valid reason to abandon a pet to danger, fear, hunger, and a slow, painful death. People may tell themselves that someone will find them and take care of them, they’ll be all right. It very seldom works out that way.

Barbara Nelson-I did a computer search in my area and found several Rescue groups. Try a search in your area to find local animal rescue groups. All of them can use volunteers and donations.

Comments are always welcome-Tell me what you liked or didn’t like. I’ll answer.

My thanks to: ANIMALS:–A blog onĀ  tips, care & everything related to the world of animals.


2 thoughts on “Why do people abandon Pets?”

  1. This article is timely, as I am thinking about getting a dog as a pet sometime soon. My children are grown and gone away and my husband and myself are living peacefully in retirement. I need some life around the house. I am a nurturer and I need to take care of a pet. It is so hard to read about people who abandon animals because of a variety of reasons. Recently I spent some time with my sister who has 2 puppies and I realised that pets add to our lives because they teach us so much: forgiveness, patience, mindfulness to name a few. I am looking forward to getting my dog, but I am first going to organise my garden and my yard to accommodate him/her. Thanks for this article

    1. JJ, Enjoyed your comment. I remember when I left got married and left home, my parents got a dog. They took that dog everywhere they went. I accused them of loving the dog more than they ever did me. You are right, though. Pets fill a void in our lives that nothing else will. The best gift they give us is unconditional love. What a lot of people forget is that animals live by instinct–they don’t plan ahead- they live for each day. If you are their alpha person–they live each day for you.

      Some pet owners try to assign people traits to their pets and that just leads to disappointment. It sounds like you will be a perfect Pet Parent.

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