Pets prowling alleys and byways looking for love or adventure may make great Disney movies but it's tough stuff in real life.
Unwanted puppies and kittens too frequently wind up at the pound - or suffer a swifter, crueler fate - as do those canines and cats whose owners think they can mostly fend for themselves.
Strays and drop-offs have, in fact, filled the Lee County Domestic Animal Services shelter to capacity, officials said recently, adding with "kitten season" just beginning, the future looks bleak for too many animals.
There are only three ways a shelter can deal with too many charges and not enough space: Find more permanent homes through adoption, find more temporary homes through "fostering" or rescues, or put the overage down to accommodate the influx.
That's a pretty ugly option and one not even Cruella's cohorts would find palatable as a procedure of choice.
Animal Services are reaching out to the public.
If you can provide a forever home to a healthy pet in need of one, now's a good time to consider adoption.
If that's too much of a commitment - and no one should bring an animal into their lives on an impulse, that's one reason some 10,000 strays a year move through the county facility - "fosters" who can provide temporary care are equally welcome now.
So are rescue organizations that can temporary house or find homes for some very loving companions-in-the-making.
And let's not forget the easiest way to keep shelter numbers down - we pet owners can all do our part to keep unwanted animals out of shelters in the first place by spaying and neutering our cats and dogs. There are numerous low-cost options.
Photos of kittens, cats, puppies and dogs ready for adoption may be found on the agency's website at www.LeeLostPets.com. Or visit the shelter at 5600 Banner Drive, Fort Myers. Adoption fee are reasonable and include shots, sterilization, license, microchip and even pet food.
Foster and rescue applications may be found on the shelter website as well.
- Observer editorial