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A dog available for adoption inside the Kent County Animal Shelter in Grand Rapids on Friday, Aug. 24, 2018.

Dogs are truly a man’s best friend. They’ve been there for us when we hunt, want to have fun, need assistance or simply need comfort. Puppies are probably the cutest animals ever. However right now, many dogs are suffering.

The Humane Society of the United States reports six to eight million animals are taken to shelters, with three to four million of those being euthanized. The horror is that 2.7 million of those animals could have been adopted.

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Gigi

I have witnessed this firsthand. My family has a miniature labradoodle named Gigi. When she was less than a year old, Gigi broke her leg and needed to have surgery. The family who had her at the time couldn’t pay for the surgery, so she was going to be euthanized. So, in the summer of 2018, my family rescued her from a shelter in Florida and paid for her surgery. It would take her a couple months to walk normally, and even to this day she walks down the stairs slowly.

Yet Gigi is a normal, healthy dog that gives our family much joy. She’s a great comfort dog and my grandma nicknamed her “My Cuddlebug”. It breaks my heart that there are possibly millions of dogs like Gigi that could give so much love to a family that will never get the chance.

Animal testing is another immoral action dogs are going through. After all, dogs were tested in space before we went. Sadly, space travel is the best testing dogs ever received. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture performed various experimental tests using 60,979 dogs. Horrifically, dogs, cats and non-human primates combined for less than 1% of all tests.

Dogfighting, a blood sport in which dogs fight usually until death for an audience, is still a problem. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in 2017, 400 animals were rescued from dogfighting. Many of these fights can last for hours. An animal that can be loved should never have to fight to its death.

This year the federal government reintroduced the Help Extract Animals from Red Tape (HEART) Act, which “would better prioritize the wellbeing of animals by speeding up the legal process for federal animal fighting cases, holding offenders financially responsible for the care of animals in custody, and allowing courts to take into account animals’ welfare when considering legal delays.” Credit to Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Cal) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) for this one. The House of Representatives should try to get this act done.

Dogs have been there for us when we needed them. For generations they’ve been at our side, yet it feels like we haven’t returned the favor entirely. We need promote the rights of dogs and help more from being euthanized, because even just one dog can make a huge difference. 

Opinion Editor

Schell-Olsen has been with The News Record since Aug. 2018. He frequently writes about politics, society and elections.