Looks can be deceiving—do you know how to spot a fake service dog? In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the number of “Assistance Animals” turning up in public places, helping their handlers who suffer from a wide variety of disabilities and afflictions. At the same time, unfortunately, there has also been an increase in confusion about these animals, which has sparked some controversy. This can be distressing to those who legitimately depend on a service dog to help cope with everyday life.
Each year millions of companion animals enter shelters. Hundreds of thousands are currently in need of homes. Here’s the good news: pet overpopulation has slowed dramatically since the 1970s, when it’s estimated American animal shelters euthanized between 12 and 20 million cats and dogs every year. Compare that to today, when only three to four million animals must be euthanized annually. And here’s another telling fact: in the 1970s there were 67 million pets in American homes, and today there are more than 135 million. In other words, we invite far more animals into our families these days and euthanize far fewer, perhaps suggesting a paradigm shift in how we think about animal stewardship.