Thursday, October 9, 2014

"We Want to Donate Our Cat, Dog or Horse to You" (Is That the Plan?)



"Little Girl and Sweetie" --Despite being spayed, friendly, healthy and previously promoted for adoption, these girls still face life as "alley cats" as no one stepped forward to foster or adopt.  (I continue to feed and look after as I already have 5 cats.)
"Puppy Boy" - Now 18-years-old, this healthy, purebred Pomeranian was on "Euth List" at AC&C 8 years ago for behavior. No small breed or Pomeranian rescue stepped up for him.  Puppy is happily my dog (by default).
One of 220 friendly and healthy carriage horses of Central Park. A fairly easy life now, but what happens when "liberated?"

Reflecting back on past years in animal rescue, there is one reality that is surely experienced by everyone in such work:
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Rescue itself is the easy part. 
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It's everything else (veterinary, food, foster, working on any behavioral/medial issues and most of all, finding permanent placement to responsible homes -- i.e. adoption) that is the hard and sometimes, nearly impossible part.
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One can only feel great sympathy to those who have to sacrifice and give up so much in order to save animals, responsibly provide for them and when fortunate, find those caring, nurturing, forever homes that are strived so hard for.
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Personally speaking, I was involved in the rescue and placement of abandoned and stray cats and dogs (most rescued from the death lists of Animal Care and Control) and the occasional duck or goose.  I literally spent many thousands of hours sitting at vet offices, medially treating sick animals, working on behavioral problems, fielding thousands of phone calls, doing adoptions from pet stores (and sometimes streets) and staying up into the wee hours posting adoption ads on web sites. The work was grueling, non-stop (no days off) and often despairing. It caused me to quip more than once, "Rescue is like quicksand. Easy to get into and almost impossible to get out of." 
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But, throughout all this, I never rescued or placed a horse.
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One can only imagine the financial and other struggles of horse rescues and sanctuaries to be many times harder and more challenging than even that for cats and dogs.
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I am not familiar with all horse rescuers or sanctuaries, but I have come across a few on Facebook.  All seem to struggle for financial support, responsible placement and seeking ways and means to save otherwise doomed horses from slaughter auctions. A few are listed below. (It should be noted that the last one, Blue Star Equiculture, is reportedly the retirement sanctuary for many, if not most NYC carriage horses when they become too old or stressed to work.)
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I cannot personally vouch for any of the horse rescues, but one thing I would bet my (non-leather) boots on:
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That is that none of them would consider "donation" to mean more horses dropped off on their doorstep. (Especially 220 horses, as represented by the NYC carriage industry.)
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One of the things that always made me chuckle in rescue (or rather, grimace in sheer exasperation) was when people called and announced, "I'd like to donate my dog (or cat) to you."
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It is truly amazing how many people think they are actually doing rescues a favor by bringing more animals to them! (In many cases, people didn't bother to call; they just abandoned the animals inside or in front of stores we did adoptions from. -- Something that eventually gave me nightmares.) Most rescues are barely making it to properly care for the animals they already have and pay their bills.  
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And yet, when reading anti-horse carriage web sites and blogs, (or listening to activists), one would think there is an entire Disney World of horse sanctuaries just sitting around with idle hands and empty paddocks and pastures waiting for the 220 NYC carriage horses.
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"Bucolic settings for the horses to romp around and roll in" as one activist put it.
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For the many hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been raised and pumped into buying politicians to "liberate" the NYC carriage horses, one might hope that a large portion of that was actually donated to the legitimate horse rescues that are expected to take the 220 horses. 
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But, one doesn't see the anti-carriage FB pages actually attempting to raise money for beleaguered horse rescues and sanctuaries.or even advertising to find homes for horses the rescues already have.    
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Rather, one sees T-shirts, anti-carriage posters, lots of slogans and directives to get after the mayor, the City Council and on other days, to directly protest the horses in Central Park.
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Recent posts on one of the pages have heavily promoted the "vintage, electric cars" as "replacements for the horses."
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Such seems a bit strange for a self proclaimed "Animal Rights" page -- i.e. seeking to replace living, vibrant, beautiful and secure animals with inanimate, huge, ugly cars. 
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Of course, when questioned, the anti-carriage folks claim to have "waiting homes and sanctuaries lined up for the horses" but to my knowledge, have failed to actually name any.
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Perhaps the plan is (when the horses are finally "liberated") to call up sanctuaries and announce they have horses to "donate?"
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That would be funny were it not so divorced from reality.
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Futures for horses without jobs are generally little better than for cats and dogs without homes. It is only the method of death that is different. (Last year, more than 150,000 horses were sent to slaughter from the U.S.)
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Then again, perhaps the plan is to call up all the people who have "lined up" and promised to take carriage horses? (Where are they now for horses currently going to slaughter?)
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Ah, that also brings back not-so-fond memories in cat and dog rescue. -- All the people (especially, "breed rescues") who promised to take or foster a cat or dog if I pulled him/her from AC&C.  What was ultimately learned (the hard way) was that the promises and a Metro card got me on the subway. - The rescued cat or dog became my total responsibility.
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It was repeated experiences like these, along with adopted animals returned for ridiculous reasons such as, "The cat isn't pooping enough!" * that eventually compelled me to re-think the whole rescue/adoption experience. 
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Or, perhaps it was those endless calls to "donate" cats and dogs that finally put me over the edge.
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If that is the plan for the 220 carriage horses of NYC then I fear some horse rescuers joining me in suddenly taking up bird watching and advocacy. -- PCA
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* The cat (Cleo) returned several years ago for "not pooping enough" was eventually adopted by her foster person and is today, living happily and healthy. (She is the sister to Little Girl and Sweetie, pictured above.) But, for me the experience was like the perennial "straw that broke the camel's back" in terms of wanting to continue in rescue and adoption.
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2 comments:

portwashguy said...

One really depressing aspect of this whole thing is how easily people are being duped by NYClass's vague statement that they have lined up rescues for all of the horses. But they will never provide any names and given the huge financial commitment to caring for a horse for many many years, it is not surprising. And if they really had 220 rescue slots in their pocket, it makes me sick that they won't use those slots now to rescue horses that need rescuing today. Why are people so willing to accept their lies and how can we get them to see the truth?

PCA said...

One supposes that the ASPCA will throw money at rescues to take the horses currently working in CP. But, as you point out correctly, those slots won't then exist for horses desperately needing and actually dying for them. Moreover, thousands of future horses will end up dying for not having these jobs as safety-nets when losing their originals.

As far as how to confront this, we need to stay focused on spreading truth and if living in NYC contact our council people indicating that we are opposed to a ban on carriage horses and want them safely kept in NYC.