Did you know that the number one cause of death among healthy dogs and cats in the U.S. is euthanasia? The sad truth is, these animals are often overlooked because they’re too scared, show fear aggression, have minor health issues, or don’t receive enough exposure to make it out alive.
Since the 1970’s, however, the number of dogs and cats killed in animal shelters has started to drop significantly. Part of the reason for this could be that people are becoming more educated on spaying and neutering, and we’re also adopting a lot more pets than before. However, it turns out that social media has made a difference in saving lives too!
Social Media Helps Transporting Efforts
Aside from behavioral and health problems, another difficult hurdle that animal shelters and rescuers run into is that there simply isn’t enough room in their facilities to continuously accept dogs and cats on a daily basis. In the last decade, social media apps and websites like Facebook and Instagram have created a platform that allows animal advocates from one location, to reach out to people in other cities and states.
During Hurricane Harvey, for example, citizens in the city of Houston, Texas struggled to save their pets. Sadly many dogs, cats, and livestock were left behind to fend for themselves in rising waters. In the wake of this crisis, people and organizations took to Facebook, sharing hundreds of posts from trapped civilians crying out for help, which helped to change the dire situation.
Organizations like The Cajun Navy and Austin Pets Alive! helped to save hundreds of animals left on chains and stuck in crates to drown. Several groups put their efforts together, gathered funds, and transported animals from Houston to Austin shelters and other rescues across the nation. Distributing the workload for feeding, medical care, and finding a home to less populated facilities saves lives, and makes a huge difference in helping adopted animals get to their new homes.
Texas isn’t the only place you’ll see advocacy work happening; using social media as a main platform, there have been efforts made as far as China to help buy dogs from the Chinese Dog Meat festival and transport them to safety.
Rescue Organizations Gain More Exposure
Platforms like Instagram create an instant reaction from people, even if you aren’t an animal lover. Rescuers are now able to create a sense of urgency with their viewers rather than the casual approach your typical commercial.