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August 29, 2023

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A letter to Shanghai citizens about stray pets

Two years ago, I stumbled across a dog while strolling in a park with my sister and mom. With matted and messy hair and a skinny body, he looked dirty and frail. I tried to approach him with snacks. Detecting my friendliness at a distance, he wagged his tail and crawled toward me tepidly with a look of hope, relief but some hesitancy. But the moment he saw my sister and mom he ran away in fear and hurry with a few barks. Since then, I have encountered other homeless pets elsewhere, but the stray dog’s mixed look has stuck with me.

While wondering all the time what has happened to the dog I saw, I began to pay attention to homeless pets and appreciate the growing crisis we have in Shanghai. Each year, our city witnesses 270,000 stray pets and this number has been growing.

The rapid growth of stray pets has become an urgent issue for two main reasons. To begin, not vaccinated, stray pets can spread viruses and diseases, such as rabies, infectious wounds, or other parasites, that pose a public health risk. Next, faced with frequent abuses and attacks, homeless pets are often erratic and aggressive. As a result, they often attack people and cause injuries when approached and become a public safety threat.

However, is it fair for us to put all the blame on these homeless pets? The reality is that this problem results from pet abandonment, limited shelters, and over breeding. Thus, government, society, and citizens need to work together to check the growing crisis and save these poor homeless pets.

Firstly, the municipal government should pass a law that strictly forbids violence against pets and pet abandonment. Secondly, charities need to raise fund for more shelters. For the animals living in rescue shelters, we need to provide nutritious food, veterinary care, and neutering services to reduce overpopulation. Lastly, as individuals, we could help by donating to charities that help with this problem or volunteering as community workers to educate people on how to improve animal welfare. As future pet owners, we should consider adopting a pet from the rescue shelters instead of buying a new breed.

While the problem of stray pets is big and growing worse, it is my hope if our government, society, and citizens work together we can create a better world for stray pets, which is also a better world for citizens. As for me, I will persuade my mom to let me adopt a stray dog this summer. What are you going to do?


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