The end of Love?

November 01, 2005|by RACHAEL HALL

Many pets are being thrown away. This isn't a one-day-a-year thing. It's happening every day, everywhere.

This subject is close to me because I have personally seen so much of it. Since moving to our farm just over three months ago, two dogs and two cats have been dropped off. One cat was already pregnant and gave birth to three kittens. So in all, we ended up with seven animals nobody wanted.

Every effort was made to find their owners. My mom ran ads in the papers, contacted the Humane Society and spent hours putting up posters. No one called.

The seven were vaccinated, spayed and neutered and have found loving homes. Their new owners adore them and say they cannot understand why someone would just abandon them. Neither can I.


Unfortunately, I am sure we have not seen the last of it. Maybe if people were more educated about pet ownership, this would stop.

Lifetime commitment

Pets aren't like little stuffed animals. They have feelings too. There are other options than throwing them out on the street.

This occurs so often, many shelters have been built for stray animals to go. I would rather have them in a shelter than out on the street. Many other people feel the same, such as Barb Main, who operates Little Wonders Rescue.

"When someone decides they want a pet, they should think about it as a commitment for the lifetime of that pet," Barb Main said. "That cute puppy or kitten or little Easter bunny will grow up and require lifetime care. Understand what an animal's lifetimes needs are before you decide to get a new pet."

My mother, Crystal Mowery, is another avid animal lover who does foster care for animals.

"It breaks my heart to see ... animals just being tossed away," she said. "If for any reason (pet-owners) cannot keep (their) pet, (they) should turn it over to a shelter or rescue. Give (pets) the chance they deserve to find that forever home."

Cindy Kalkbenner, public relations director for the Humane Society of Washington County, gave me some statistics on stray pets.

In 2004, 5,196 animals were sheltered by the Humane Society. So far this year, 3,102 animals have been in the Humane Society - 989 animals were picked up by animal control plus 1,943 that were brought in by others plus 170 from other sources.

Of those animals, 1,076 cats and dogs were adopted out to new homes.

The Humane Society charges a $25 fee to bring an animal to the shelter because it costs money to feed and take care of these animals.

I asked Kalkbenner what is her opinion about animals being dropped off on the street.

"It's terrible (and) it's against the county law," Kalkbenner said.

She wishes every owner would have identification on their pets, so if the animals stray and are brought into the shelter, they can reunite them as quickly as possible.

So I ask why there are so many unwanted pets. Maybe owning an animal isn't all you expected it to be. Was it too much work? Did it take too much time? Did it cost too much money?

These are things to be thought of before deciding to get a pet.

Owning an animal does take time, money and attention. Housebreaking a dog takes time and patience. Veterinarian bills for shots, spaying and neutering take money. Obedience training takes time and money.

Sometimes, a caring owner has trouble with a pet. There are things they can try before giving up their pet.

  • If there are problems with bahavior, I would recommend obedience training. One trainer is Peaceable Paws, operated by Pat Miller.

  • Spay or neuter all pets. Spaying and neutering can help pets who like to wander or who have an aggressive instinct.

  • Problems with a pet that is not housebroken or with one who like to chew? Try crate training.

Every animal deserves a chance.

If after attempts are made to make the situation work and an owner cannot keep your pet, then the owner should try to find the pet a new home.

  • Run an ad in the local paper. The Herald Mail will run an ad for free for three day in the Free/Give Aways section.

  • Ask any callers for a vet reference. It is an owner's responsibility to make sure their pet is getting a good home and that the new owners are going to take care of the pet.

  • If all else fails, take the pet to the local Human Society or a private rescue. There are many shelters to be found on "" on the Internet.

There they will be given the care they need and every effort made to find them the forever home they deserve.

Remember, you chose your pet, they did not choose you.

The Herald-Mail Articles