Some of our critics would say we don’t know much, but one thing we do know is that you don’t mess with pets.

Americans take their pets very seriously —more than $70 billion was spent on household pets in 2018 — and the Gila Valley is no different from the rest of the country.

That’s why, when we took a call from a citizen concerned about the treatment of pets in the Graham County Animal Shelter, we knew it was a story we had to dig right into.

We’re glad to say that things appear to be OK at the shelter. Our tour of the facility — you can see the video on — showed a clean facility with those unwanted pets being well cared for by staff.

In fact, video provided by the concerned citizen shows animated dogs in clean kennels, excited to see a human that might be there to give a pet a forever home.

Not every animal can be saved, of course. There are too many out there due to owners not taking the responsible action and getting their pets spayed or neutered.

And while we’re on the subject, if a person can’t afford to pay for a spay or neutering (which is reasonably priced here in the Gila Valley and comparable to the cost found at veterinarians throughout the state), can the pet owner really afford to have the pet? We think not.

But we digress . . .

The shelter should be the first place one looks when wanting a pet — not a breeder or the guy with a box of puppies or kittens at the Walmart entrance. If we give the shelter dogs and cats a forever home, we cut down on the pet population running loose. That’s because the shelter adoption fees primarily go to vaccinations and spay/neuter, something we’re glad is non-negotiable for an adoption.

Our local animal shelter appears to be in good hands, and county officials are making sure things run smoothly. It would be nice if those employees, dogs and cats could get a new facility (or at least newer), but there just isn’t the money right now to build, buy or expand.

Which means it’s incumbent on us to reduce the number of animals making their way into the shelter.

Spay or neuter your cats and dogs. There’s no shame in waiting until you can afford to properly take care of your pet, so if you can’t afford to spay or neuter your pet, please don’t get a pet.

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