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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can understand your frustration and I feel bad also about this, in fact, it makes me sick. I think that it's necessary for people to be able to leave their animals at a shelter, though, because it's preferable to dumping them, which would be what these people would do for their second choice. At least at the shelter the animal can be fed, sheltered, and possibly adopted. It's a question without an answer...if you make it harder for people to adopt animals at the shelter, they will just go to the pet stores and that isn't good, either. I think that they need to understand that it's like having a child, it is a commitment for the life of the animal, it is not something disposable like a stuffed toy.