Monday, April 27, 2009

Latest Economic Victim – Scruffy and Fluffy

Last week in Canada’s largest city, ten recently born kittens were found in a plastic grocery bag in an ally way. The abandoned newborns were only a few days old. Most still had their eyes closed, and some even still had their umbilical cords attached.

I’m more a dog lover than a cat lover, but any helpless animal left abandoned is sadistic, only someone truly evil would do such a thing.

The cute baby cats were taken in by the city’s Humane Society, and have fully recovered. They are even nursing from adoptive mother cats in the shelter.

This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Last month, a dog was found in a dumpster in Toronto, wrapped in a plastic bag. The dog was treated by the local Humane Society, and recently was adopted by a caring family.

Uncaring people, or heartbroken ones, giving up someone they love?

The Detroit News recently reported an unprecedented number of abandoned cats and dogs, due directly to our global economic disaster. The American paper says these pets are being found in foreclosed homes, dumpsters and parking lots across the city. The paper also says more people are bringing their pets to shelters, because they’ve lost their jobs and just can’t afford them anymore, or because they’ve lost their house, and are moving to an apartment which doesn’t allow pets.

Regardless of the reasons people have for giving up a member of their family, anyone who simply leaves a pet behind, in a dumpster, or anywhere else it shouldn’t be left, is a horrible human being.

It can’t be easy to give up someone you love. I’ve had dogs before and I can honestly say I loved them. Granted, it isn’t the same kind of love you have for your significant other, but it is a strong bond, no weaker than any other feelings you’d have for an immediate family member.

Dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters, even fish can and do grow on you. We bring in these cute creatures into our homes, feed them, play with them, and watch them grow – sounds a lot like raising a child doesn’t it?

Could you imagine the outcry if babies were suddenly left in dumpsters? Or what if children were being taken far away, and then abandoned?

The police would be called in right away, and there would be a search for the caregivers responsible for those children, so that criminal charges could be laid.

There are criminal charges which can be laid against people for abusing animals, and if those who left the baby kittens are ever found, they could face some stiff fines and jail time.

But the real problem here is the growing lack of concern for our loved ones – even if they walk on all fours, and occasionally cough up a fur ball or two.

Surely there must be a better way to resolve some of the pain of the global depression, other than abandoning a member of the family – especially these ones, as our pets just can’t fend for themselves.

No one wants to lose their home, but if you must go to an apartment, try to find one that allows pets. Actually, in most cities in Canada, it is illegal to be refused a rental apartment because of a domesticated pet. The only way a landlord can legally ask you to get rid of the pet, is if the animal is having a negative impact on others in the building, such as constantly barking at or biting others. Check with your local municipalities landlord tenant regulations to learn how you can respond to landlords that refuse to rent to you, because of your pet.

If you must give up your pet, try to find a loving and caring home for him or her. Try your family and friends, maybe someone you already know, and who knows your pet, would be more than willing to take your pet for you. This is good for the animal, as he or she probably already is familiar and used to this person. And, when you get back on your feet, you might be reunited with your long lost family member.

If you can’t find someone you know to take your pet, place an ad in the local paper, on the Internet, or even at the local community centre, school, or grocery store. Maybe there is someone in your community who always wanted a dog or a cat, but never got around to getting one?

As a last resort, take your pet to the local shelter for adoption. Shelters in Canada mimic the ones in the States, so they are bound to be getting full. The American Humane Association recently estimated that with 8,000 American houses going into foreclosure every day, between 15,000 and 26,000 pets are in danger of losing their homes daily.

But a shelter – as crowded as it may be – is still a far better solution than simply wrapping up your pet in a plastic bag, and leaving him or her for dead in some dumpster. And that essentially is what you are doing, if you just abandon your pet – leaving him or her for dead.

And no living thing should ever be treated so inhumanely.

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