“Be the change you want to see in the world” Mahatma Gandhi
Our neighbors moved out, a few days till Christmas, not a foreclosure, just a regular move a few blocks up, to a larger house. Their wrecker business has been slow, but with 3 income sources in one household, they’re all right. They left a rusty barbecue out front, a few pieces of smelly furniture and a small TV not good enough to move.
They took the two mixed breed middle aged dogs who had lived with them since puppies, for a ride in the car, off to the county pound, from which they will not come out.
They made no attempt to find them another home, ask around, place a free ad in the community news paper. Even I, did not know until I inquired why the yard next to ours was now so quiet. They left 2 cats behind too, one just a stray they say, but they fed it for several years, so the stray does not know he is supposed to be homeless. He is just there alone. And the temperature has dropped. The other cat may remember where he came from a while back and venture to see if a door opens. They said that maybe when they are settled they’ll get a new purebred pup, a toy dog, smaller poop, less food. Surely another stray cat will just show up.
They bought a new stainless barbecue grill with 2 burners, and the flat screen HD TV they’ve been wanting for a while. I heard they picked out a new living room set too. They’ll hang Christmas decoration around the front of the new house.
The lives of two sweet dogs were thrown away, just 2 aging mutts, and dismissed also were the lives of the cats, who took shelter in their crawl space for a few years. Not worth a second thought.
Times are so hard for animals all the time. People are buying and discarding them like objects. Food animals are cheaper than fill dirt, literally.
A male calf offspring is of no use to a dairy farmer and worth about 5 dollars at birth. Hard times should elevate the value love and tenderness, but on the contrary it brings out intolerance and callousness in humans. Happiness has depended entirely on trivial entertainment, material comfort and an endless supply of stuff. In times of plenty, choices are less critical, you can have your cake and eat it too, there is enough to hand out a little goodness. But last week the dogs next door lost against the tides of frustration and anger. They were defeated by the big screen HD TV and the shadow of a bleak future. Perhaps it is better after all, they will not be there to be yelled at and kicked around.
There are some good city shelters, like those partnered with the SPCA or the Humane Society and everywhere there are good people who truly care about animals and also work at shelters. Alas, shelters are not sheltering dogs from harm, there are merely holding pens where, anywhere from 3 days to rarely over 10 days dogs and cats meet their fate: A reunification with his or her family (1 in 10), a lucky adoption for animals under 5 years of age (1 in 3) or their lonely death (7 in 10). In these holding facilities, workers make little money, hardly above minimum wages, are not often screened for their dedication to animals, more often spilled over from another city or county agency, especially in small towns, where working at the animal “pound” (for impound) is often considered a demotion from another public service position. Still in effect is the outrageous practice of pound seizure where dogs and cats unclaimed during the few days of grace (3 to 10) are sold for experimentation to university laboratories or Class B dealers who resale the former pets at a profit to biotech (vivisection) facilities. Few states have outlawed this transaction and your beloved pet whose only fault was to walk thru a gate left open and wander a while until lost, your sweet family dog or cat has been shipped to an laboratory, where courtesy of the FDA, it will be lawfully submitted to painful invasive, maiming, debilitating, poisoning, burning, or bone breaking experiment. My personal experience is that shelter employees develop a veneer of insincerity, a combination of power over the animals, and callous acceptance of the harsh reality and the inexorable fate of their inmates. Systematic spaying and neutering of strays and licensed pets to prevent overpopulation, tax credits and veterinary care at reduced cost for low income and elderly citizens to deflect pet surrender, and charitable pet food banks, combined with the elimination of large breeding operations and puppy mills could realistically take away the need for overfilled shelter facilities and their maintaining costs (paid with tax revenues), property ground and building, utilities, workers payroll and benefits, veterinary services and drugs. The humane, compassionate private,” no-kill”, run shelters, could then handle the smaller number of animals in distress.
Money and power and politics has again everything to do with the welfare of animals.
The first priority is not animal welfare but the protection of jobs, at the city and county levels and the constituents jobs because there is not a politician willing to take a stand and risk losing an election by alienating a group or another. The institutionalized gambling business of greyhound racing, claims hundreds of dog lives a year for every in the race track, either from brutal collision or from culling the dogs not fast enough to compete and the “lucky”winners are kept in the dark, in horribly small cages, at the back of facility. State governments invest in these gangster’s run gambling parks and in spite of the numerous reports from Grey2K and citizens complaints of extreme cruel treatment of these gentle dogs (recently 32 out of 40 dogs died after they were left at Embry Park,FL. kennel without food or water for several weeks) continue to support them. The business of animal experimentation is so profitable that it does not wish to draw attention to the unethical, often sadistic nature of their research and methods and will defend them with electoral bribes and blatant lies. The same goes for the extreme cruelty of animal food production- No candidate for office in Ohio for instance, no matter how aware and disapproving he or she might be of the animal suffering, will not dare to speak against the cruelty of hog factories. That would be political suicide. Recently Senator Tom Udall replied to me in an email that in the case of the 200 middle aged and older Chimpanzees who are to be taken out of a 10 year retirement at Alamorgordo in NM. and transferred to the Southeast National Primate Research Center for more invasive experiments (see PCRM or HSUS to get involved), and while he did not write a single comment about the primates welfare, he was deeply concerned how the move would affect jobs in his district. Ethical issues never entered his mind. Chimpanzees do not vote and that is all that matters to Mr Udall. America is so quick to tell the rest of them world of its superiority, but is submitting 70000 dogs and over 25000 cats annually (+ 60000 primates, besides over a million other species) to painful, trivial and deadly experiments in the name of science in a ”civilized” Western nation morally superior to the skinning dogs and cats for the fur trade in rural China or breeding them for the meat trade in Korea ?
Doing the right thing has no longer any value, on the street, in the office or in Washington. On the contrary, the last 30 years have highly rewarded openly unethical behavior in banking, finance, politics, health care, corporate greed with positions of power and unimaginable wealth, while the public watched not with reprobation but with envy. That is why thousands of tutorial books and videos on how to make millions and realestate scams and money game shows were so successful.
Helping the helpless animals is a heartbreaking mission left to a few who care deeply.
If you know of a back yard, mobile home or deep in the woods puppy breeder, of a neglected animal, left in the cold, too thin or chained, if you witness or suspect abuse, if your hear continuous whining or pleading barks, please report it to your city’s SPCA. They are most likely to do something about.
Make it your business to speak for the helpless.
The suffering of all animals needs to be alleviated, but in particular cats and dogs, horses too, because they are companion animals therefore belong to a category apart from all other animals. They listen to us, trust us, look up to us for comfort as much as we cherish the comfort and love they give us. They are family. We need to demand the drafting of laws relevant to the importance of our companion animals to protect them rightfully, so that we finally close the puppy mills and exclude them from experimentation and other exploitation. Pet population would greatly decrease, companion animal abuse would be severely punished and subsequently be less frequent. It is not utopia. Not so long ago such laws were enacted to protect children who were practically sold into servitude as household servants or in factories, left in rags on the nearest church front steps, they were at the mercy of their parents negligence or brutality. But now, you can hardly scold a child, much less give her or him a little smack on the bottom without the fear of child services knocking on your door. There was ignorance, there was silence, there was profit in child labor, like there is profit in animal breeding and experimentation, but attitudes can change. Michael Vick inadvertently helped us publicize the horrors of dog fighting and dog fighting became a federal crime in a matter of a few months. When there is the awareness and a will, there is a way. We are not ignorant anymore of the suffering of animals at the hand of corporations, breeders and abusers and we must not be silent any longer. Let us start with our best friends and companions, dogs and cats, who sit in our pictures of the perfect happy home, so dedicated to us and intelligent and intuitive of our needs that we easily train them to serve us as guide and rescue dogs and therapy pets.
Call, write, email your congressman/woman, your senator, your state elected official, your county and city officials and demand that dogs and cats be designated companion animals and removed from the overall “animal/livestock” category, removed from the callous USDA jurisdiction that oversees puppy mills and laboratories and allows the abuse. And give them the respect, protection and love they deserve .
Adoption:If the thought of adding a four legged child to your family, has crossed your mind, please visit the local government shelter (where animals are least likely to survive) and take home a mixed breed dog or cat. Older animals make wonderful companions, housetrained and patient, grateful for any attention for which they have so longed. He (or she) will bring lasting joy to the whole family.
Animalshelter.org has a fairly comprehensive list of city and county shelters by State.
If your heart is set on a specific breed, because their characteristic are better suited for your lifestyle or because you have a particularly fondness for that breed, contact a private animal rescue. They do not kill any of the animals they take in. They are usually breed or “cousins” specific, either pure bred or a close related mix, and because their pets are often surrendered they have a known history which helps you make a better match.
Petfinder.com is the most comprehensive network of animal rescues and animals for adoption.
Beware! that when you “Google” Breed Specific rescues, most of the listings are from deceitful breeders and puppy mills, pretending to be helpful only to lure you to their advertisements of puppies for sale. Craigslist is not to be trusted with pet adoptions either, but your neighborhood newspaper advertises usually sincere people in a hardship trying to re-home a dog or cat.
The dogrescuelist.com has a long list of rescues but is incomplete because it has not been updated in a while.
Donatetodogs.org has another legitimate list also incomplete but helpful.
If you are not able to take in another companion, you can make a donation to an animal welfare organization or rescue, buy a chew toy for a lonely yard dog and bring a old blanket to a stray cat in your neighborhood. If you have used carriers or leashes, unneeded shampoos or treats or common treatments for pets, please donate them to a private animal rescue in your area.