Having just read about the terrible tragedy at the Payson Humane Society as reported in the Nov. 22 Payson Roundup and reading Pat Boettcher’s urging for compassion and understanding from the public, I am sad. She said, “This is the hardest thing any of us have ever had to do. This could have been caused by one infected cat.” She is begging all of us to go easy on these people who have killed 100 cats.
But why? Why were these loving and caring people forced to make this terrible decision? Because too many of us are irresponsible.
Responsible pet ownership. Such a simple solution. If every pet owner would take responsibility for his/her own pets, not only would we not have a tragedy such as this, we would not need a humane society at all and these dedicated people would not have to face these ghastly problems.
If every cat and dog owner would have his or her pets neutered or spayed and keep them current on all shots, there would not be the millions of unwanted and contagious animals. There would not be children sitting in front of Wal-Mart, Safeway and Bashas’ with cardboard boxes full of kittens and puppies. What are the chances that these unwanted babies, who are mostly too young to be taken from their mothers, have had their shots?
Puppies and kittens are always cute. The children of shoppers beg their parents to take one home. Eventually the box is empty and the puppies and kittens find new homes. But way too often, it is not a permanent home. The family is not prepared. They have not made a commitment to having a pet and the confused puppy or kitten is taken to the Humane Society. Since they most likely still have not had any shots, they come to the Humane Society in a weakened condition and very possibly bring with them some contagious disease. Thus a new epidemic begins.
The caregivers at the Humane Society watch the endless procession of dogs and cats, kittens and puppies, often whole litters, coming through their doors. Some of the people are sad. Others are not sad enough, finding such an easy way to dispose of an unwanted pet. It is not easy for those who have to make the ultimate decision due to lack of space or illness, aggression or condition. And they know if people would spay and neuter, if people would vaccinate, if people would be responsible pet owners, there would not be the millions of dogs and cats dumped off, abandoned, neglected, abused and euthanized each year. Each pet would be wanted and loved as a member of the family.
Our hearts reach out to these dedicated volunteers and employees at the Humane Society who have to make terrible decisions every day because of our failure to be responsible. We can be sad for these people. But can we do something to make a difference? The only answer Be a responsible pet owner: Spay or neuter and vaccinate.