While of course I agree that this was not a nice thing to do, I think the local media outlets are missing the bigger story here. Over the past several months I have repeatedly seen local campaigns on Facebook to hunt down someone who abandoned their animal(s) in some horrific way (remember the puppies dumped on the side of the freeway in the Rubbermaid container? or the mama dog thrown over the fence at Miranda's Rescue?), and while I can identify with the righteous anger expressed by these posts, the problem runs deeper than irresponsible individuals, and we are doing our community a disservice by focusing on the surface result of a more fundamental problem.
The sad fact is that horrible things happen in peoples' lives, and they are sometimes forced to give up their animals - perhaps due to severe economic hardship, mental/emotional issues, domestic abuse, divorce, problems with addiction, etc. - and while this is bad enough on its own, the problem is compounded (and I think we all become complicit) because there is no place in this community that will accept all owner-surrendered animals. For those of us with 'enough' - enough money, enough emotional resources, enough support from family and friends - it is impossible to imagine a scenario where we would abandon a beloved pet, and the knee-jerk response is an indignant 'How could they?!?' - but the sad fact is that these unfortunate situations will likely always exist, and it seems wrong to treat these people like the FBI's most wanted when in reality there is not really a good option available to them. Most communities have at least one shelter that takes owner surrenders, and I believe we did at least up until some years ago - it seems hypocritical to get SO pissed off at these people when there is not a safe alternative presented.
Unfortunately, what we have set up here in our community is a system where the only way to find a place for your animal at a local shelter, in the sad event that you are forced to give them up, is through lying or a criminal act. We need a better safety net. Until one exists, let's all redouble our efforts to support low-cost spay/neuter programs.
In Print This Week:
Dec 5, 2013
vol XXIV issue 49
The North Coast Journal Weekly
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