Muskogee Animal Shelter is being expanded. To many, that's good news. The city needs help to house all of the unwanted dogs and cats taken in.

The $520,000 addition is funded by a match with Neighbors Building Neighborhoods and the Gladys Beatrice Sheddan Trust.

It's a shame that money has to be spent to house, care for and find homes for unwanted animals. 

People get pets and then realize that those pets cost money to maintain. You don't just feed and water them. They have to have shots. They should be spayed or neutered. They should have shelter and a fenced yard so that they are not tied up outside to endure extreme weather conditions. And just like any other animal, they do get sick or injured. A trip to the veterinarian can be costly. And once those pets become pregnant, who is going to pay to take care of puppies or kittens? They also need shots and should be spayed or neutered.

People can get ahead of the problem of unwanted puppies or kittens — spay or neuter your pets as soon as possible. Cutting down on the population means fewer animals that end up in the shelter. And although local nonprofit groups, such as PAWS, Fur Babies and Coins4Critters provide much-needed help, even they can't keep up with the demand.

Some dogs have been taken by other groups to other states. Some of the pets that end up at the shelter never find a home. Some lose their lives because they've been housed too long and must be euthanized to create a spot for the next unwanted pet. Shelter employees' hearts break every time they have to euthanize animals. They, too, have a love of pets or they wouldn't work at the shelter. But, they didn't sign up to carry out death sentences. They have hope for all the animals that come in.

People need to be responsible pet owners and decide whether they are ready to take on a cute puppy or kitten. Do they have the time to devote to a pet? Do they have the money needed to properly care for a pet? 

Muskogee is fortunate Neighbors Building Neighborhoods and the Gladys Beatrice Sheddan Trust partnership to help out with the pet population.

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