Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Coming of Flowers

(Picture Left: "Big B" and brother, "Cool." Among early spring drop-offs at Animal Control.)

The worst part about being at capacity in terms of animals either in foster or boarding is that you then have no place for a new rescue.

That is our situation now.

Thus, when getting a call from the shelter the other day about two brother Chows mixes who were just abandoned from a home when their former owners "moved," I had to regretfully say that we could not take the dogs as there was no where to put them.

This is a reality and task that I personally find among the most unpleasant in animal work. -- Having to say, "no."

And yet it is a reality we in rescue work face everyday. -- Either having to ignore the dozens of email "Alerts" sent to us daily of shelter animals needing "urgent rescue" or actually having to say "no" to personal pleas.

I just wish the pleas were made more to the public and the press. I wish owners, when dumping animals in the shelters for things like "moving" or "having a baby" were told the entire truth.

Most people discarding pets leave the shelters with the idea that their dumped cat or dog is immediately getting "adopted to a loving home." This, despite the fact most shelter drop-offs have been neglected for years and are often in poor medical or psychological condition.

It's as if we had a line of potential adopters for animals lined up around the block, (regardless of condition of the cats or dogs) -- like the people lined up applying for jobs these days.

Unfortunately, most of the "lines" regarding animals are those of people waiting to unload their pets at an animal shelter:

"Can't afford." "No Time for." "New boyfriend or roommate allergic," "Landlord won't allow" and of course, the most common excuses, "Having a baby" and "Moving."

In addition to the regular excuses for animals to be abandoned at a shelter, there are also the hardship or owner screw-up reasons, such as illness or death of the owner, evictions and arrests or loss of the cat or dog (pet arrives at shelter as "stray.").

There are in fact, hundreds of reasons why animals end up in shelters. There just aren't so many reasons for people to adopt. -- Other than (hopefully) just wanting to care for an animal and seeking a 4-legged companion.

With these realities in mind, it should come as no surprise that the number of appeals and pleas (whether by email or phone) for animals needing rescue far outnumber adoption inquiries about 100 to 1.

I am only surprised that the shelter "Euth Lists" are not a great deal higher considering these grim imbalances.

The reasons they are not higher is that thankfully, more animals are getting spayed or neutered these days either before getting adopted out by shelters or rescues or in some cases, owners actually get their pets neutered.

Additionally, there are more groups and individuals doing animal rescue these days than in years past.

Unfortunately, that can also result in many animals spending months or even years in overcrowded boarding, foster or "sanctuary" situations.

As noted at the top of this entry, one has to learn and respect the line of capacity and know when to say, "no."

Not everyone in rescue recognizes those things, sadly.

It has been an almost deadly quiet week in terms of serious adoption inquiries. In fact, we haven't had any that seem likely to result in an actual placement of one of our dogs or cats currently in boarding or foster.

On the other hand, I could not even count the number of appeals, pleas and "alerts" that have come via email or phone over the last week alone.

Indeed, the true highlight of this past week was sighting a coyote in Central Park a few nights ago!

I just hope the parks department and Animal Control don't get a hold of him (or her.)

The last coyote, "Hal" captured a few years ago, died in transport by the time the shelter finally found a place for him out of the city. The stress and panic of several days containment in the crowded AC&C was apparently too much for the shy and terrified (of humans) coyote. These animals are surprisingly small and extremely agile.

Indeed, it is pretty scary for most of the domesticated pets dumped everyday at our animal shelters. Imagine what it is for a "wild" animal? Especially a species that has been so persecuted, hated and decimated by humans over the decades.

If the Central Park coyote is smart, he will stay as far away from humans as possible.

Not an easy feat considering we are soon going into spring and summer and the park will thus attract millions of people.

One more reason to dread the coming of spring and summer to New York City -- beautiful and flowery as these seasons may otherwise be. -- PCA


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