Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FYI... Owning a Pet Comes with Certain Responsibilities

I have had pets my entire life; dogs, cats, fish, birds, toads, guinea pigs, and I’m sure there have been a few other types of animals, as well. But each one of them where pets, part of the family, loved and cared for. Recently, I’ve been reading and hearing too many stories about people abusing their right to have pets, allow me to explain…

First, what is the deal with people’s attraction to breeding and rising pit bulls for fighting? Just today (November 24, 2010) there is another story in the Troy Record that reveals that the occupants of an apartment in the southern section of Lansingburgh owned 9 pit bulls that were apparently being raised for fighting. Several weeks ago there was a similar story that described how over 20 pit bulls were impounded over several days in Troy. Someone has to draw a line in the sand, strictly enforce the “Dangerous Dogs” ordinance in the City Code to bring people to justice. Hasn’t anyone learned how dangerous dogs can be if put into the hands of the wrong people? A family friend recently had their dog attacked unprovoked by a pit bull in South Troy. The dog and its owner escaped justice that day by way of the alley, but we read these stories all the time, but not just of other animals being attacked, but people, especially children. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that the majority, not all, pit bull owners in Troy own them for some sadistic reason. It’s a fetish for them, a public safety issue for us, and inhumane for the dog.

Owning a pet comes with responsibility. You have a responsibility to care and feed the animal, not to dump it in the woods or leave it behind when you move because it’s too much of a burden to care for. The commitment that comes with owning an animal is as important as any other decision you should make. Abuse and abandonment is not the answer. I’m learning more and more how this is becoming a common practice by people dealing with cats that are no longer wanted. Unfortunately, under the law cats are not afforded the same amount of protection as dogs and other animals, therefore the owners, and I’ll use that term loosely, are able to get away scot-free. There are programs and ways people can get assistance if they are experiencing financial trouble all they have to do is look and ask. I understand it can be tough when you are faced with the question of who to feed, the cat or themselves. Simply contact the Hudson-Mohawk Humane Society at 434-8128 to learn more.

At this time I’m told shelters are not accepting cats. There are just too many of them and not as many people adopting. Stray, abandoned, and feral cats are becoming an issue in our neighborhoods. Community members are finding themselves participating with programs like SCRUFF (Spaying the Capital Region's Unowned Feral Felines). The Washington Park Neighborhood Association in Troy has been conducting a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program called POUNCE for a number of years. TNR programs like POUNCE work with groups like SCRUFF to trap cats, have them spayed or neutered, and released back to their habitat with the goal of stabilizing the feral population. The life expectancy of a stray/feral cat is just 2 years and if they aren’t reproducing the hope is the number of cats wondering the streets and alleyways will reduce. All this comes at a cost. POUNCE is funded through donations from community members. This coming spring, our neighborhood group, the North Lansingburgh Neighborhood Watch, hope to have a similar program up and running.

Anyway you look at the issues it’s highly disappointing and the only one that suffers ultimately is the animal who is given no choice. We need to do our part in educating and being as proactive as we can by reported abuse and finding families and homes willing to adopt.

1 comment:

  1. I alway's take my dog to go on your lawn Jim. He likes it there