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Do we really need more dogs?

The article “The Looming Dog Shortage” [February/March 2018] left me incredulous, as the author noted in the beginning paragraphs. I agree that puppy mills and imported dogs need to be eliminated, but I also think that households should be prepared to support the dog they so desperately want.

As a veterinary nurse, I have dealt with many pets that simply come in to get their annual rabies shot. These “beloved” dogs are not fully vaccinated, consume the cheapest dog food possible, and are not protected against fleas/ticks or heartworm disease. As a hospital manager, I have dealt with many owners who cannot afford ear cytologies, ovariohysterectomies or yearly bloodwork. It is frustrating and saddening to see these pets suffering due to lack of care and awareness. Attempts to educate the public go disregarded or brand veterinary professionals as money-hungry villains.

Dog breeding should have enforced regulations in order to create the healthiest puppies, and yearly pet care should be enforced as well. This is a pipe dream, however, as the general population would scream about the government meddling in more of their private affairs. My interest lies in keeping every pet healthy and free of fleas and heartworm, and with a quality diet fed twice a day. Pipe dream indeed.

Perhaps making pets scarce will increase the quality of life for those needing homes. Human nature is such that a rare item is cared for better. Currently, pet ownership is a right. Perhaps it should be a privilege.

Aylah Skultety is hospital manager at VCA Bayview Animal Hospital in Toms River, New Jersey.

Today’s Veterinary Business provides a forum for readers to comment on anything in this journal and on any topic relevant to the business of veterinary medicine. We welcome letters of 600 words or less — the shorter, the better. Please email submissions to editor Ken Niedziela at [email protected]. Include your name, professional degrees and credentials, workplace or city of residence, and contact information.