Mary said: Wait till you start finding stray dogs in your yard sitting looking for the owner to come back. Breaks your heart. We had one collie that sat a week in my neighbors yard and would not budge just looking and waiting for the owner to come get him. So sad. There’s something about country living that makes people think they can drop off their unwanted pets and they’ll find a good home. I wish I could find these idiots that do this and show them a picture of their pet looking so sad and abandoned. I hope this doesn’t happen to you, but if it does I know the strays will be in good hands till you find them homes.
Oh Mary, don’t EVEN get me started. I don’t know if I wrote about this before or not – I meant to, but I don’t think I did – but when we moved into this house, we’d occasionally see two dogs roaming around together. They’d go across the back forty, sometimes drink water out of the pond, but if we called to them, they paid no attention to us at all. We thought perhaps they belonged to someone in the area and had travelling feet. One day I was going out to check the mail, and I glanced over at the church lawn (we live next door to a church), and one of the dogs was laying beside the road. I walked toward him, hoping he was just hurt and I could take him to the vet, but pretty quickly found that he was dead. It bothered me, having him lay there in the hot sun, and I said something to Fred about it.
“Just wait,” he said. “Five bucks says when Wednesday comes along, someone will bury it.” Wednesday came along, the parking lot filled up, and at some point I glanced over to see that the dog was gone. Someone had dug a hole next to the dog, pushed him into it, and buried him.
Not long after, a beagle showed up, and we’d occasionally see the other dog that ran around with the dog who’d been hit and killed (I assume he was hit and killed, given that he was laying right next to the road, anyway).
When Fred went to talk to a neighbor about the beagle, he found out that the people who’d sold us this house? Those two dogs had belonged to them. When they left, they left the dogs behind. I cannot tell you how very much this infuriates me. I want to burst into tears, just thinking about it.
These are the people, I have to add, who wouldn’t let us come to see the house on Sunday, what with it being The Lord’s Day and all. Which reminds me, last time I had a sit-down with The Lord, The Lord informed me that doing what might lead to business on Sunday is FORBIDDEN, but abandoning as many of His Creatures to fend for themselves and be hit by cars and lay dying on the side of the road is A-OK with Him! It’s in the Bible!
Okay, look. Here’s the thing. People abandon their cats and dogs “in the country” because they think the dogs and cats will revert to their wild nature, and they’ll romp happily through the fields and catch mice and rabbits and live happily and die of old age.
What’s more likely is that they’ll be so terrified at being dumped off in a strange place that they’ll hide in a ditch until they’re starving, chase a mouse across a road, be hit by a passing vehicle, and die by the side of the road in a great deal of pain. Or they’ll wander across the farm of someone who’s seen so many abandoned animals go after his farm animals that his response is to grab a rifle and shoot the animal you’ve abandoned. Or they’ll drink nasty, bug-infested water and they’ll die of dehydration caused by diarrhea. Or a coyote or raccoon will wound or kill them. Or they’ll just curl up in a ball in a wooded area and die because they WERE NOT RAISED AS WILD ANIMALS. They were raised as house pets, and they know how to kill a bowl of food, but there’s a shortage of bowls of food in the country, oddly enough.
If they’re lucky, they might figure out the whole hunting thing. And then they have to watch out for coyotes, who will happily kill and eat them, or farmers who are sick of seeing abandoned animals on their land day after day, or any other myriad other things that could happen to them. If they’re very, very lucky they might end up on my front porch, where there’s cat food and water and people who won’t hurt them.
People abandon their animals in the country because they think “at least he’ll have a chance! If I take him to the shelter, they’ll just put him to sleep!” Well, if you take him to the shelter, he’ll have a chance to be adopted by someone, and going to a safe home where he’ll be cared for. And if he isn’t adopted, yes. He’ll end up being put to sleep. Which is crueler – to take your animal to a place where he will be terrified for a few days, but might have a chance to be adopted, will have food and shelter, and in the end might be euthanized? Or to throw the animal who loves you out on the side of the road where he will be terrified, won’t know how to feed himself, won’t know how to find safe shelter, and very well might end up injured by a vehicle or wild animal, and will die in a great deal of pain?
Make no mistake about it: if you dump your animal off in the country, you are a jerk. If you dump your animal off in the city, you are a jerk. If you stick your animal in a carrier and leave it by the side of the road so that a passing stranger stops to see what’s going on and finds a cat in a carrier that is so hot they can barely pick it up (this is how one of the cats ended up in the shelter I volunteer for), you are a jerk. Suck it up and take some responsibility and take your animal to a shelter.
And HAVE YOUR CATS AND DOGS SPAYED AND NEUTERED. Millions of cats and dogs are euthanized every year. There’s no shortage of cats and kittens and dogs and puppies available. It’s not “better” for your female cat or dog to have a litter before you have them fixed. Being neutered doesn’t make your male dog or cat less of a male, for crying out loud.
As much as I want to, I cannot give a loving home to every stray who will wander through my yard; and I think that irresponsible people who dump their animals should themselves be dumped out in a strange place and forced to fend for themselves.
2006: No entry.
2005: Poop Watch v. 2.0, currently in progress.