Saturday, April 18, 2009

Honesty (New York City)

I don't usually go over the cat euthanasia listings for our shelters each day. Because we are not able to rescue many cats these days, I find the exercise of looking at the lists too painful and depressing.

But, I did look over the kill list for today.

It contains 20 cats -- mostly sweet looking tabbies and a couple of handsome black and whites.

I would have liked to pull a dozen cats from the list, but with no open fosters and at capacity in my own home, it just isn't possible.

What is most distressing is noting the "reasons" most of the cats were dumped at the shelter by owners and why they are now on the list of doom.

One pretty tabby named, "Pinky" particularly stands out.

Pinky was surrendered by a family who claims the cat becomes upset when the "kids pull her tail."

One wonders why the parents couldn't teach the children NOT to pull the tail of the cat?

Pinky is described as loving and affectionate with people, but "should go into a home with older children."

Unfortunately, Pinky's not going into any home.

She's caught a URI infection (medical language for what basically is a cold) at the shelter and is now scheduled to die.

One wonders how many people, in lieu of teaching their children how to properly handle pets, instead dump those cats and dogs at the pound when the going gets tough?

What kind of "lesson" is that for the children?

"When you don't treat animals right, we dump the pets in the pound to die."

Of course that was the exact situation for the dog, Bello, we picked up from the shelter yesterday.

Bello was discarded because the "Teenage son isn't responsible for the dog." (Bello, by the way is doing wonderfully in his foster home. Yvonne called today to tell me how happy and thrilled her family is with Bello.)

One wonders about the children of such pets as Bello and Pinky?

Do they simply repeat the acquisition/dumping patterns with pets that their parents showed them when they were young?

If that be the case, then we can never expect that any city -- least of all, New York, will ever go "no kill" of companion pets.

Instead, what we see is a vicious circle of animal acquisition and abandonment that repeats itself from one generation to the next.

Other reasons cats are on the death list today? "Too many" (failure to neuter), "Moving" (I bet they are taking their furniture) and "can't afford" (but one bets they can afford a flat screen TV).

Ah, I am sounding very cynical, indeed.

Perhaps that is the real reason we don't rescue cats anymore.

Seeing cats end up on shelter kill lists each day in double or triple the numbers of dogs makes one think (rightly or wrongly) that the truly committed and loving homes for adult cats these days are few and far between.

And yet still the shelters proclaim in their Pollyannish ways that "Euthanasias are down and adoptions are up!"

But, if you are Pinky or Bello or the older, lost Collie named "Angel" who was killed earlier in the week, despite a heartbroken owner seeking her, such words ring very hollow.

That only the shelters would find ways to be more honest with the public it is supposed to be serving -- even is some of that (brutal) honesty isn't what we want to hear.

Its the only way real change can ever be expected to come. -- PCA


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