7/19/2009

When That Bleeding Heart Just Ain't Big Enough...

A few days ago on Facebook one of my friends posted an appeal from someone she knows about a beautiful Shepherd mix dog she'd found in her neighborhood. The dog was friendly and seemed well behaved. From the description it was obvious it was a beloved pet who had strayed from home. However, it's collar was missing. Not an uncommon thing with smarter dogs who manage to remove their collars - especially when being sneaky to explore places they shouldn't.

This girl's bleeding heart got the better of her and she just had to call the dog over to her. The dog responded and she decided she'd find it a home or find its owners. That's a nice sentiment but it's not a quick process as anyone who has ever fostered a dog can tell you.

In fact, one of our dogs was found in a very similar way. Unfortunately, the scars on his neck told us his life had not been particularly pleasant wherever he came from so we didn't try to find his previous owner. We were just going to keep him until we could find him a home. Five years later we finally found him a home. Of course, we didn't look particularly hard in the intervening years and only decided we had to find him a home when he and one of our other dogs decided they couldn't stand each other after several years.

Michael became frustrated with him and the process of trying to find a home for him and finally dropped him at our local pound, thinking they would make some attempt to find him a home. I immediately called the pound and asked about him. I begged them to call me and let me know his status and to call me immediately if they decided to kill him. I had every intention of picking him up before some oaf at the pound could kill this wonderful dog. After several days I had not heard a word. I called the pound again and was told they were planning to kill him the next day. I asked why I had not been called and they told me they "didn't do that." We rushed to the "shelter" and picked him up. We had to pay all sorts of fees that actually seemed more like ransom in order to keep them from killing him.

After a while we were able to find a home for him through my sister. He now lives comfortably in his old age in North Carolina and as a recent email stated "he is better than my kids!"

So, our bleeding heart "animal lover" has her new charge in hand and is trying to find a home for him by using social networking. By evening when no one has run over to pick him up she realizes it is too much trouble to keep a dog and she drops him to the local "animal shelter." She gets assurances from a local "no-kill group" that they'll pick him up by the weekend but she has to place him in the shelter first.

Unfortunately, that is a ploy by no-kill shelters. They tell people the animals must "go through the pound" and then they'll pick them up. Generally, this is a dodge that means they're full and they don't want to turn down an animal outright because it could affect their reputation and donations. Of course, the weekend came and the "no kill shelter" was a no-show at the pound.

So, tonight the woman finds that in 24 hours the dog who came to her, sat in her lap, licked her face will be killed because the shelter thinks he's "aggressive." This is another code word for "we can't be bothered" and people just want little puppies. In extreme cases it simply means "we don't think dog is cute so won't be easy to adopt out."

She still can't manage to disrupt her life to take responsibility for the dog she called to her, put in her car and then took to a "shelter." She begs other people to rush to the dog's rescue before it is killed.

But, the dog would not be in that position were it not for her actions. Had she minded her own business perhaps the pet might have made its way back home. Perhaps the family or owner might have spotted it and been able to take it home. Perhaps someone who could actually bother with it for more than a few hours would have taken it in and either given it a home or kept it until a suitable home could be found.

The moral of this story is that sometimes people with bleeding hearts just don't have bleeding hearts that are big enough. If you pick up an animal on the street you are taking responsibility for that life. If you know you can't help then leave it alone and let someone who can be bothered help it. A "shelter" is really a death camp. Pets check in but not nearly enough check out!

For those who think that there is no solution but the "final solution" when it comes to unowned pets I ask if they would express the same belief for unwanted children? After all, we have millions of children who are without parents. Many grow up in orphanages or foster care. We have children who have severe health problems, behavioral problems, or other issues that make them difficult to adopt and others who will never be able to live on their own - even as adults. Do you suggest that the solution to this human overpopulation is euthanizing them? If not, then perhaps it is time to think more creatively and morally about companion animals as well.

After all, for many of us our pets are our children. If your son or daughter ran away and couldn't tell child welfare who their parents were - would you want them "put down" to "control the kid population"?

Here are a few stories about how "shelters" operate and how they often murder beloved pets... even as the owners are in another room trying desperately to claim them!

BTW: Did you know many of our "animal shelters" not only engage in their very own version of a "final solution" but also take another page from the humanitarians in the SS? Yes, in many places the top choice in killing dogs and cats is a gas chamber! (see photo above for the gas chamber used in North Carolina shelters.)

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