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two centsMy Two Cents about Animal Shelters, Groups, and People
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First I would like to acknowledge that opinions are like a particular body part, everybody has one. This page is my personal editorial on the subject of animals and the people who say they care about animals. There are many people who claim to care about animals and animal rights. Some are quite, and do nothing while others are very out spoken and active. The range of interest also will very from person to person, some of the more common groups and my view point of these are:
No Fur - These are the people who refuse to wear any type of animal fur, in protest to the type of care and killing methods of furriers, and to protect animals in the wild. I don't wear fur, I do wear leather. I have very strong feelings when it comes to fur and leather. If an animal is born and raised to used by man, it should be done humanely. The animal should have a good quality of life, until it's time comes. Then shall be killed humanely. Also the animal should not be wasted.

A perfect example of this would be the pig. I can't think of a single part that is not used. One piggy can provide meat, suitable for humans, with by products for pet food. Not to mention the parts that some people enjoy eating, that I just can't (pickled pig's feet, canned brains, along with ears and tails in the meat section). I've even owned a nice soft pigskin purse, and my dog enjoys dried pig's ears.

When it comes to "wildlife" fur, I have a problem with anyone who wears the fur from an animal that came from the wild, especially cat! I will not do physical harm the person, or toss a can of paint like some people have been known to. However, I will not befriend anyone who wears such a fur, or do business with anyone who supports the wearing of such.

  Vegetations - The people that refuse to eat animal flesh, not for health reasons, but because how the animals are cared for, and killed. I don't agree with the way many animals are cared for or slaughtered for food, but I do eat beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and fish. I can not eat any animal I met while he was still living, nor do I eat wild game. I have no problem with responsible hunters, who kill for food, and do it in a humane way. I am against hunters who only kill for sport, or who are irresponsible. A responsible hunter will not leave an animal injured, and will always attempt a "clean kill". Yes, I do suffer from "Bambi Syndrome".
  Endangered - People who's main interest is to protect all the different animals who are endanger of becoming extinct. I'm a strong supporter of groups who try to protect animals who are endanger of becoming extinct. With humans requiring more and more from our planet, we may be the ones who loose. There is room for animals and humans, but its a take and give strategy that will save all of us. I do feel sympathy for people who are endanger of loosing their lively hood (some fishermen, and forestry people), however in many cases these problems could have been avoided in the first place, with some planing years ago.

A perfect example is the alligator. For years people killed them for their hide and meat, until they became endangered. With the protection, their numbers increased to the point, that they are no longer endangered, and with proper management, people can now hunt again.

  Exotic pets - One of the smaller of the groups, these are the people who try to educate people on the responsibilities of having an exotic pet, including large cats like lions & tigers, bears, large snakes, wolves, and even raccoons and bob cats. "Lions, tigers and bears Oh my." I too have wanted and have owned several exotics. However most people try to fill that urge without doing their homework first. There is a reason these animals are classified as "Exotic". Each one has it's own unique needs, while some of these animals can be bought cheaply, their care is anything but cheap. More times than not, the animal lives a horrible life. For the few people who are willing a capable to provide suitable living standards for these animals I have no problem, for the others I have a suggestion, go do some volunteer work and a local refuge or zoo. Many of these places would appreciate the help, and you can fill that urge you feel, without increasing the population of unwanted and abused animals.
  Common Pets - This by far I believe is the largest group. These are the people to are out to stop the wrongs of the world for the more common pets, including cats, dogs, rabbits, snakes, and so on. These folks also address the problem of over population. This is one group that I feel that most people can agree on. No animal should be abused, and that there are more cats and dogs than there are good homes for. Past these two comments passions can run deep. There appears to be two strong points of view "no-kill" and the "it's better to use euthanasia". I'm a "no-kill" at heart, but also understand there are more animals than people to care, for all these unwanted animals, which doesn't leave much room other than to euthanatise. I have known some people who live by the rule of "put-up or shut-up" many of these people use their personal resources to save animals from euthanasia, while others "talk the talk, but don't walk the walk".
  My biggest beef with many of the Animal groups is they are more territorial than most animals. Each group is so busy doing what it believes in that it develops tunnel vision. I truly believe, and especially so in larger metropolitan areas that if the different groups would become more organized, and pooled their resources, that more animals would be saved. However right now, one is more likely to hear conversion that sounds more like to kids on a playground fighting.

"Well at least we don't murder them."
"Ya, you lock them in cages or runs for years"

If everyone would stop and listen, for a minute, they would discover that both are saying the same thing, there are more animals than homes, and something needs to be done.

Each group deals with many of the same problems lack of funds, volunteers and homes. If the groups could ever agree to sit and talk, as civilized human beings. Something interesting could happen, by working hand in hand with each offering its area of expertise, the problem could be handled more efficiently.


    Group 1: Has a "no-kill" shelter but is normally filled to capacity.

    Group 2: Has a shelter, but resorts to euthanasia, to make room. Also normally filled to capacity.

    Group 3: Doesn't have a shelter, but uses foster homes.

    Group 4: Does rescues of abused animals and injured, and fosters some.

All are doing their interest, most likely all are accessing the same veterinarians, fighting for the same donations, pool of volunteers, media support ....

Depending on the size, resources, and needs there are many different scenarios, however the idea is the same. To use the resources of the community to it's maximum, with out duplication of services.

Now if they worked together something like the following:

    Group 1: Handles adult animals. Since they are at high risk to be euthanatized. The living quarters and needs are much different for adults than kittens or puppies.

    Group 2: Handles kittens and puppies, since most people want younger pets, and are more likely to be adopted.

    Group 3: Handles animals with special needs, either aggressive, or have a medical condition that requires special care.

    Group 4: Continues to rescue, than when the animal is ready for adoption can go to group 1, 2 or 3.

Each group is addressing it's original concept.
    Group one is still a No Kill but now handling the animals that were more likely to be destroyed.

    Group two didn't prefer to destroy, but needed to to make more room. They should now have a higher turn over in adoptions. Making everyone happier.

    Group three is now a major player, while they were most likely the smallest they now offer something very special.

    Group four can now free-up some of its resources, to do more rescues.

Also doing this the public know where to go, to get what they want. If they are only interested in a kitten or puppy all available ones can be found at one location. The same for adults or special needs.

Overhead costs could be cut down, by specializing it's always cheaper to buy in bulk.

By sitting down with the local veterinarians, and a system could be set-up where everyone does a little, and no one gets overworked. Several vets may work with group one, while the several more would handle group two, and the same with group three. Group four would be the unique one, I saw this done years ago and it worked. Each vet took one day a month, for emergency care. With the only exception being a life & death emergency, than the closest one handled the emergency. As a rule all work was donated, with the only a few exceptions for more costly cases.

    A word of warning, what the vet says goes! If volunteer disagrees with this, or simply doesn't like the particular vet that is on call for the day, that person takes on the reasonability of the medical bill.
It is very easy to sit here at the computer and do "armchair coaching", doing it in the real world is much more difficult. With different personalities, egos, resources, and needs. It takes a lot of work, of a lot of individuals, that are willing to see the big picture.

This problem of over population didn't happen over night, nor will it be fixed over night. Our culture will have to change, and change begins with the young. Education of our youth will make the biggest difference overall. For decades we were programmed to want kittens and puppies, that it was part of growing up. You get a kitten or puppy, watch it grow up, than start it's own family.

Since it will take years for this concept to change, and we are already in a crises situation there are some ways to slow down the problem. The first thing is "Spay & Neuter" programs. While there are reasons for breeding, such as purebreds, and service dogs. Breeding should be left to professionals and these professionals should be held accountable for their offspring.

Some places have even started some interesting programs. Several of my favorites are:

    City License Fees - If the cat or dog is altered the fee is around $5. per year, if not the fee is closer to $30. With a special license for breeders.

    "Low Cost Spay/Neuter" programs. While many people can afford the $40 to $60 it can cost, other people simply can't afford it.

    All animals adopted from shelters must be altered (if old enough), or if the adopted animal is too young the person pays for the surgery at the time of adoption and is given a certificate to use when the animal come of age.

The bottom line is the problem isn't getting any better, a lot of people say they care, but few do anything about it. It's your choice are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

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