Every year in the U.S., between 9 and 11 million animals die in shelters. Rescue shelters are always at capacity, and there are many more animals being abandoned each day than there are homes that welcome pets in.

The most common reasons people give when dropping their pets off at shelters are: "The dog got bigger than we thought it would." "We're moving and we just can't bring our pet with us." "She's ruining our yard." But when you take in a pet, the pet becomes a part of your family. Would you leave another family member behind when you moved, or if they grew too tall?

Most people who leave their pets at shelters probably think they're doing the right thing. The fact is, once your pet is left at a shelter, it has about 72 hours to be adopted before it is destroyed. If he or she is a highly coveted breed and stays completely healthy, they may survive for a few more days, but even the most beautiful and loving pets are susceptible to the harsh emotional and physical conditions at over-crowded shelters.

Special attention is being paid this year to the plight of animals in Alabama. The South in general is a harsh place for companion animals, and Alabama's animal cruelty laws in particular are weak and rarely enforced. Over 100,000 animals are killed in shelters there every year.

To support this and other shelters, London Jewelers will be offering an exclusive bracelet for sale in each of its locations and on their website, www.londonjewelers.com. The cost of this sterling silver dog paw charm featured on a red, pink or black silk cord is $65 and the same charm with a diamond is $100. A portion of each sale will go directly to help this and other shelters and to keep companion animals alive, healthy and happy.