Monday, November 3, 2008

"Property" and Entitlement, They're Not

Picture Left -- "Jay" Lost, little shelter dog.
Ah, our archaic animal welfare laws!

I went to see Jay, the so-called "severe" (behavior) Pomeranian yesterday at the Manhattan animal control shelter.

I did not see a nasty or "aggressive" little dog in a cage.

Rather, what I saw was a very frightened, confused little dog in a ward filled with large and barking dogs.

I was instructed to wait for a kennel staffer to take Jay out of the cage, due to the "caution" sticker on his kennel card. But, after a few mintutes, I was able to loop my leash over Jay's head and lift him out of the cage myself.

There was nothing "aggressive" about him.

I took Jay into the yard in back of the shelter and spent some time with him. He seemed a bit lost and distracted, but I was able to stroke him and lift him up on the bench beside me.

He seemed very much to be looking for his former owners.

Of course one has to wonder about Jay's "former owners."

It's not too often that one sees a small, purebred dog with fly bites on the ears, but they were certainly prevalent on Jay's ear tips.

Such usually indicate a dog kept primarily outside in a yard.

Further evidence to neglect is Jay's dirty, matted coat and his thin condition.

One tends to think of Pomeranians as "spoiled, pampered" dogs.

But, nothing about Jay suggests any kind of pampering or even minimal care.

He's a sad little dog trying to put up a bravado of independence and nonchalence.

After returning Jay to his cage, I went to the "New Hope" office in the shelter to tell the woman in charge of rescue, that I was happy to take Jay.

"Can he be neutered tomorrow?" I asked Jesse.

"Well, he's still on stray hold until tomorrow. He could be neutered on Tuesday and you can pick him up then if not claimed." Jesse replied.

"Stray hold" is a 3-day wait period allotted for owners of lost dogs or cats to claim their animal.

That means that Jay's former owners could potentially show up at the shelter and claim him and I would have nothing to say about it.

It doesn't seem to matter that the dog had been severely neglected for months or possibly even years.

In my personal opinion, if found, Jay's former owners should be arrested and forced to spend at least one full week tied up in a yard.

Of course, were it up to me, many of the laws pertaining to animals would be changed.

But, primary among them would be the notion of animals as inanimate "property" to be purchased, sold, discarded or claimed regardless of condition or previous care.

Having, keeping or claiming animals should be considered an earned privilege, rather than an entitlement. -- PCA

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