We hope you were thoroughly disgusted by an Associated Press story on Sunday about state animal shelters. It described in graphic detail how thousands of unwanted dogs and cats are killed each year. It drove home the point that spaying and neutering can help slow down the carnage.
There has been much debate in recent years about the ways in which animals are put to death. Gilmer County Dog Warden Joe Hitt shot 380 to death last year. It's never easy for him: "When you shoot ... tears come to your eyes."
Shooting a dog between the eyes angers many. But other methods can be expensive. Lethal injection requires training, testing and certification. For many animal shelters in the state, that's a lot of trouble. And money. In addition, two people have to be present when lethal injections are used -- one to hold the animal and the other to administer the shot.
Some shelters complain the certification process is so difficult, they likely will not resort to using lethal injections.
That leaves gas chambers. They're effective, but they're not for all animals.
The real solution to this problem lies with us. When the experts implore us to spay and neuter our pets, they know what they're talking about.
Sterilizing pets is "the No. 1 way of preventing the thousands and thousands of unwanted cats and dogs from ever being born," said Nancy Beatty of Help for Animals in Huntington.
Almost 30,000 animals were killed last year in 16 West Virginia counties. The figures weren't available for all 55 counties, but you can bet that the actual death toll is twice that.
West Virginians have the power to prevent all of this death and destruction. All it takes is motivation.
Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin, Matt Harvey, Nora Edinger and J. Cecil Jarvis.