There was an article in the Payson Roundup on March 24, written by Karyn Reidell, regarding a dog that was hit by a car on Highway 87 in Pine. Karyn had a veterinarian bill of over $6,000 for this dog, which she has now adopted and named Huckleberry Finn. How wonderful that Huck has found a home and a friend.
The question is, where are the original owners of this dog and why was he running loose down Highway 87 in Pine? Was he just one of those disposable dogs?
Karyn is urging people to donate money to the Payson Humane Society so that we can have a state of the art no kill shelter in Payson. I am all for that. Send in those dollars.
The real problem, however, is the mass production of puppies. Until we can reduce the number of litters being born, we will forever have more puppies than there are homes to accommodate them. Sterilization is the only answer.
In the February 2006 issue of the AKC Gazette magazine, Michelle Smith, president of a breed rescue group, says she keeps hearing that it is like "dogs are falling out of the sky."
Many of these supposedly purebred dogs were purchased from pet stores or they are the breeding stock surrendered from puppy mills.
She asks, "Why is there this increase in rescue dogs? Has the number of dogs increased that much or is it that our society, more than ever, considers pets to be disposable commodities?" She adds, "We rescuers like to think of ourselves as cockeyed optimists, and therefore think that a dog's life has value no matter where he came from."
A dog's life certainly has value no matter where he came from or what breeding he has or does not have. It is just that there are too many of them and with this overwhelming supply, their value, unfortunately, diminishes in the eyes of many.
Puppies are being shipped into this country from Russia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere and many are coming over the border from Mexico, crammed into the back of trucks. These pups are sickly and although they may boast a pedigree, that pedigree is worthless.
Many irresponsible breeders are selling puppies over the Internet. Most are sold with pedigrees and some are registered with one of the many registries the puppy mills have created for themselves. Many of these end up in pet stores where people are paying incredibly high prices for a cute puppy with fraudulent papers.
If you want a purebred, registered puppy, please do your homework and find a reputable breeder. Talk with several breeders before making a decision.
If you simply want a loyal companion, go to the Payson Humane Society and adopt one that touches your heart.
Fortunately for most of us, whether or not our dog is purebred does not matter. The real problem is how to eliminate these unscrupulous breeders. As long as we buy puppies from pet stores, buy directly from a puppy mill or pay a backyard breeder for a puppy, we are encouraging them to allow their dogs to give birth to more inferior puppies.
There are enough puppies available at the Payson Humane Society and shelters throughout the country to keep every potential pet owner well supplied.
The real answer, the only answer, is to spay and neuter our dogs.
Karyn wrote in her article about the low value that is placed on dogs.
If one gets sick or injured, euthanize it or turn it into the humane society and get another one.
If we were not faced with this horrible overpopulation, would we not put a higher value on our dogs?
I look at my dogs and see the intelligence they have and their eagerness to learn new tasks. They know when I am leaving and they know whether they get to come along or must stay behind long before I tell them. They let me know when it is walk time. They stand in line at training time, eager to show off their talents. How can we place them in that disposable category?
If each one of us would spay or neuter our dogs and encourage others to do the same, imagine the difference we could make.
Christy Powers is a columnist for the Payson Roundup. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by snail mail at HC1Box 210,Strawberry, AZ 85544.