Archive for Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Preventing unwanted pet litters

June 27, 2007

I am writing out of frustration with my fellow citizens of Leavenworth County. I have lived here for several years now, and believe that the vast majority of people in this area are far from ignorant, certainly not lazy, and overall, caring people. Most have reasonable financial means.

So why do people not spay or neuter their pets? This goes for "barn cats" and "farm dogs" as well. Why do we continue to see unwanted puppies and kittens destroyed, abandoned or left at the Leavenworth shelter? I just don't get it. Taking action to PREVENT these litters would seem much more cost effective, and certainly is far more kind.

It would appear to me that communities concerned about public health and the welfare of animals (which any caring, educated community would be), would have a program of low-cost spay and neuter clinics for those who truly cannot afford the procedures.

For feral cats, I would think a trap-neuter-release program would be a better choice than simply rounding up some and destroying them, leaving others to breed and perpetuate the problem.

These programs are not rocket science -- many communities have them, and use them with great success.

The people at Leavenworth Animal Control -- officers, employees and volunteers -- work very hard to take care of the lost, abandoned and unwanted pets of Leavenworth County, adopt them out or find them foster options, but they cannot do the whole job alone. It takes the entire community to do this job.

I call on the citizens of Leavenworth County to come together and support the establishment of a County Humane Society, to create a nonprofit organization of volunteers, education, programs and resources to help address the current sad state of affairs for animals in this county.

I urge my fellow residents to contact their elected officials throughout the county and let them know we really are caring and educated citizens. Let them know we want to change things for the better in our county by creating programs and policies that encourage spay and neuter and discourage the human negligence that creates our pet overpopulation problem.

Most immediately, people who own animals, or who feed and keep them on their property, must take responsibility for preventing the breeding and birth of more unwanted animals. It's very simple -- spay or neuter. Sadly, there will still be plenty of dogs and cats to adopt.

Finally, when considering adding a pet to your family, please visit Leavenworth Animal Control. I know from adopting four of my six pets from there, and volunteering there one afternoon a week, that they have many fine animals that are just waiting for a home. You can also see the pets available at Leavenworth Animal Control by visiting petfinder.com/shelters/lv.html and clicking on the "available pets" link. You'll be saving a life.

-- Crystal Swann Blackdeer is a Leavenworth County resident

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