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Friday, July 5, 2013

Animals don't dump people

"Animals don't dump people" I have a bumper sticker on my guitar case that says that. It is such a true statement. Unfortunately, people do dump animals all to often. They leave them in boxes on the side of the road They tie them up in front of peoples homes, and they drive them out to remote areas and just drive away. They even put them in garbage cans. It's  a disgusting act, and one that is against the law, yet it happens all the time and seldom are these morons caught in the act.

Many times animals get dumped here at the shelter. We get here in the morning, and there is a box full of kittens on the doorstep. A month or so ago, someone walked up in broad daylight, and tied a dog to the handrail outside. I have struggled with this over the years. I want to be angry with these people for not coming in and taking responsibility for the animals. I want a chance to get information about the animals, and if possible, educate them about spay/neuter and  responsible pet care. As I've witnessed this time and again, Ive thought at least they had the sense to bring them here. After all, the place to bring unwanted animals is the animal shelter, right?  Some shelters even have night drop boxes for animals. This has been suggested for our shelter, and I cant stomach the idea of it. To me, it just gives people an excuse to treat animals like garbage.

Today, this point has been driven home to me in a big way. The Farmington animal shelter has a night drop box. It is routinely filled with 20 or more cats and dogs every night. This time of year they receive an average of 30 or more animals per day. This morning the staff there arrived to find a litter of puppies left in the night drop box inside of a metal garbage can. Thankfully they were still alive. The picture attached to this post, shows these helpless puppies as they were found this morning. It is utterly heartbreaking.

What is really sad, is that this sort of thing is preventable through low cost, and affordable spay/neuter services. Nearly every county and city in the country has some kind of program to help people do the right thing and  have their pets sterilized. San Juan County has some of these programs, but they are inadequate. The program at the Aztec animal shelter has a one year waiting list. That is too long of a wait. In that amount of time a cat can produce several litters of kittens. Each week people who live in San Juan County drive the 100 miles round trip to our shelter in order to do the right thing and get their pets fixed. This is due to the high cost of the procedures at their local veterinary hospitals. In fact the cheapest option down there is more costly than the highest priced here in La Plata County.

I realize that veterinarians are in business to make money. I would not ask them to do these procedures for free. What I'm asking is that they start being part of the solution, and help end the euthanasia of unwanted pets in their county.Get together with your community leaders and find a way to lower the cost of these procedures. Provide 10 or 20 spay neuter surgeries a month to your community at a reduced rate. Your animal shelter in Farmington has an outstanding surgery suite with the capacity to do dozens of these procedures per week. Ask yourselves why isn't it being used for these procedures. Get involved and help out your shelter and your community.