The temptation to keep pets is high. People do so, out of their own desires or when asked by family or friends to take on pets that are no longer wanted. The commercial sector is also active in tempting people to buy pet animals.  Whereas the parties selling animals would not wish to draw attention to the disadvantages of keeping pets, it is also not in their interests to speak too lightly of them. They do, after all, need to uphold their own reputation and the clients' confidence in their expertise.

But the type of information  provided by conscientious sellers on the consequences of a purchase varies  considerably. In this regard, there is little difference between buying a television or a pet.  The difference becomes obvious, however, at the point that people  want to dispose of their pet. Although there are incredible numbers of indifferent people who are quite willing to simply dump their animal, there are, luckily, also people prepared to care for the abandoned animal.  This is fortunate for the animal, but less fortunate for that small group of people concerned with the animal's fate.  Less fortunate, in the sense that their noble attitude costs so much money and time. Added to this, our society is structured in such a  way there is a huge lack of volunteers to assist in the care, let alone that we could count on sufficient paid support, if only in the form of people who could work in animal refuges in return for their social welfare benefits.  There are enormous numbers of animals in our society. For each Dutch person, 10 animals are kept on a permanent basis. Their only fate in most cases, is that they are killed only when they are dumped. Agricultural pets  are slaughtered. Pets, dumped in nature are shot or eaten. If they are dumped in an animal refuge, they receive a lethal injection if they cannot be placed in a new home, or in some cases they are used as fodder for other animals if they do not eat meat themselves.
If you are indifferent to this system, you do not have a problem. Those of the opinion that you cannot kill an unwanted animal, do have a problem. It is therefore important to seek  a compromise between the small group of people who find that you cannot just kill off animals and the large group of people indifferent to this matter. It would not be asking too much to put a price tag on this indifference, just as in the age-old practice of easing the guilty conscience with a plenary indulgence.  This having been said, there is, theoretically, a simple solution. Whether that solution is feasible , depends on the politicians. When dealing with animal suffering, politicians consider in first instance the interests of the sector which earns money from animals. In this way, finding solutions is difficult, but not impossible.

If everyone deciding to keep animals was charged a disposal fee, which was equal to the costs of care for each animal that could not be placed in a new home, the problems could, in theory, be solved.  
The buyers would be charged a realistic price for their animal. In the case of a young animal, or an animal with a long life expectancy, the price would be higher.  For animals with a short life expectancy, the price would be much lower.  Schedules, showing the costs involved for care, per animal can be drawn up, making people more aware of the financial consequences of their purchase. Of course the commercial sector will not be very enthusiastic about this solution, but their objection is not insurmountable, as they are actually concerned with after sales. "After sales”  is what the sector can earn from animal care. Professional  breeders would be the hardest hit, financially, because they focus solely on the sale of pet animals and are not concerned with after sales. Does anyone feel sorry for the professional breeders?  In order to survive within this sort of financial agreement they would  need to have themselves registered and to pull their weight in financing the disposal fee.

An example: the dog
The history of dogs
Modern day dogs
Consequences of irresponsible breeding for dogs
Drawbacks for dogs
The pet-industry
Why do people want pets?
Drawbacks for humans
Take a pet?

If politicians and the Authorities chose to introduce  a disposal fee, payment of that fee by each animal owner will need to be registered and controlled. This could be done by people who work with animals on a professional basis, such as veterinaries and animal rescue services.  Animal ambulances could be financed from the funds from the disposal fee.  From this concept, it is a small step to build up a network of collaborating bodies  caring for all animals in need of the rescue services and ambulances: dead, wild or domesticated. It should make no difference whether the animal needs the ambulance, because it has been found or has been reported or for any other reason  whatsoever. If someone reporting  a pet cannot  show that he has at some stage paid a disposal fee, the next body (Police or General Inspection Services) can be called in.

In our society, when we are asked for a contribution, we think first and foremost about the costs involved. A well calculated financial system could be the solution when seeking a justifiable system that champions the welfare and interests of animals.

Love for animals cannot be forced and people can only oversee a fraction of the consequences of purchasing an animal. A rational and working solution for dealing with that limited oversight is possible. Fortunately, people are prepared to accept a political solution, which although it does cost money, can also be motivated. Readiness to pay in advance for animal care is greater (before the animal has been purchased), than afterwards, at the point when owners wish to dispose of the pet.

A disposal fee sounds harsh, but it does make it possible for people to be totally honest in their real motivations when purchasing pet animals.