Essay: Toulmin-Based Argument in Support

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[. . .] To this end, there appears to be a direct connection between income level and pet-adoption preferences that indicate public awareness campaigns may be effective in promoting animal adoptions from shelters and reducing euthanasia levels. For instance, pet adoption rates have been shown to differ significantly according to ZIP codes. In this regard, Fine reports that, "Pet-keeping practices vary with neighborhood and community. A study of residents in Salt Lake County revealed that residents' ZIP code areas were highly predictive of the sources of pets residents used in acquiring their pets. Certain ZIP code areas showed high levels of pet adoptions from shelters, while other neighborhoods favored purebred animals, and feral cats were adopted in other areas" (2006, p. 77).

In addition, the Humane Society has sponsored a longstanding public awareness campaign, "Until There are None, Adopt One," that encourages prospective pet owners to acquire their animals from shelters rather than pet stores or so-called "puppy mills" (Hasenauer, 1997). Therefore, by targeting low adoption level communities with public awareness campaigns and policies that prevent animals from being destroyed, adoption levels can be increased and euthanasia rates reduced dramatically (Fine, 2006). Furthermore, purebred dogs (and cats) are also available from animal shelters, but in many cases, "it's the mongrels that tend to be healthier. They get the best traits from all the breeds and are often friendlier and easier to train as well" (Hasenauer, 1997, p. 21). For pet owners who insist on purebred species, there are some nonprofit civic organizations that focus on these as well such as Lab Rescue that specializes in placing Labrador retrievers and Greyhound Pets of America that specializes in placing retired greyhound racing dogs (Hasenauer, 1997).

Counter-Arguments and Rebuttals

An old saying cautions that, "There is no such thing as a 'free puppy,'" and the research certainly confirms this adage. Indeed, pet ownership involves a substantial outlay of time and monetary resources. For example, a New York City-based veterinarian warns that, "Bringing home a dog simply because it looks oh-so-adorable is not the wisest way to choose a companion. Too often I hear people say 'I saw this dog and just had to get it' without thinking of the consequences.' But you're adding a family member who needs daily food, water and attention as well as house training, grooming and veterinary care" (Cherry, 2007, p. 79). Likewise, Hasenauer (1997) researched consumer pet-purchasing habits and found that many new owners are astounded by just how much work is involved in housebreaking a new puppy, for example, for the expense that can accrue to pet ownership. According to Hasenauer, "Buying a living, breathing animal is very different from investing in an inanimate object. Before you bring a pet into your home, you should be willing to commit to loving and caring for that pet for the rest of its life" (p. 21). Despite these constraints, though,

Conclusion

Millions of dogs and cats are destroyed in the United States each year because animal shelters were unable to find suitable homes for them. At the same time, millions of Americans purchased pets from pet stores and other sources. Therefore, by raising public awareness concerning these ugly trends and implementing enlightened animal rights policies such as the "no-kill" policies that prevent animals placed in shelters from being destroyed, the number of pets adopted from shelters can be increased and the alarming levels of pet euthanasia can be decreased.

References

Boks, E. (2005, May). Carrot & stick. Vegetarian Times, 331, 54.

Cherry, R. (2007, April). Puppy love. Vegetarian Times, 349, 78-79.

Fine, A.H. (2006). Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice. Boston: Elsevier/Academic Press.

Guither, H.D. (1998). Animal… [END OF PREVIEW]

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