Saturday, August 30, 2008

The dilemma in animal welfare from my perspective

I have been working for animals for 35 years. I am finding that not much has changed in those years. This to me is very depressing. Every day at our shelter we face owners of animals who either lie to us and pretend that the animal is a stray, or admit to us that for many bad reasons they can no longer keep their animal. We then must decide to either take in the animal, which is our mission I guess, but it is seeming to me that we are just reinforcing bad behavior of these people by making it so easy to just put off their unwanted animals on an animal welfare group. Then, in effect WE, not the OWNERS who should be the responsible party, may have to make the very hard decision to eventually euthanize this animal. Since the numbers of abandoned pets has not decreased in 35 years, we may need to rethink our goals. For many groups we are becoming only a mass warehouse for stray and abandoned animals. There just isn't enough homes for them all.

Returning the responsibility of these animals to the owners may make people really think about getting a new dog, cat or whatever before doing it. Stricter law concerning abandonment( my thought is that turning an owned animal in at a shelter actually IS abandonment) , better education of children who will later become pet owners, of course spay and neuter programs would help. However, progress has been very, very slow in my opinion and perhaps more agressive tactics may be called for.

Please let me know your thoughts as I have been struggling with this lately and need to have someone either set me straight with their own facts or accompany me in my misery over the whole situation. SLH

Rescuing infant kittens

One thing on my mind today is the rescuing of kittens appearing to be without a Mom. On one evening last week while checking to see if the outside light s at our shelter were working, I noticed a plastic container on one of the outside benches. Then I heard the mews of kittens. The kittens had been left outside without a cover to fend for themselves for the entire night till workers would show up next a.m. Of course I took them home, got them a warm place and ran out to Walmart for liquid milk replacer and bottles. The kittens did not like the nipple and it was a struggle to get them to eat at all. Most of these four will not survive even with our efforts to save them. The BEST THING to do if you find kittens is to leave them where they are( if it is a safe place) and watch them to protect them but wait to see if the mother cat returns before taking them away. You are doing them no favor really by "rescuing" them if their mother is near. (90 % of rescued kittens do not survive. They need the warmth and milk that only the mother can provide. Sadly I will probably be informed this morning that one or more of them did not survive the night. SLH