My heart went out to Patrick the starved dog in New Jersey back in March 2011. How in the world could a person abandon, neglect and not feed a dog to the point of starvation and then throw them in the trash is just beyond me. Even in tough economic times, people have choices to make. And one can always choose to feed their pets IF they are a responsible pet parent. People do NOT have to abandon, neglect or starve their pets. There are other options.
This is NOT some grand theory but practical application. I have been there and done it. For myself, given the choice of feeding myself or Cici, she comes first. That’s just me. I take my responsibility to care for her very seriously. If not me, then who? And there have been times over the last few years where I had to make that choice. If I can do that, so can others.
To be responsible begins with, are you able and/or WILLING to RESPOND? If you are dying and/or so sick and disabled, then you may not be able. Otherwise, it is a matter of WILLINGNESS. Am I WILLING to STEP UP or NOT? Tell the truth for the sake of your pet. Would you abandon/neglect your child, starve them, or give them away because of tough times? If not, then you can also be responsible for your pet. A living animal is NOT a toy, accessory nor is it something to throw away when times get hard. You are able but either willing or not willing to be responsible.
As far as I am concerned, there are NO EXCUSES… I have ZERO tolerance for people who abuse their animals (and children and others). Starving, neglecting and/or abandoning an animal is a WILLFUL act, a criminal act, that should be punished harshly to the fullest extent of the law. It is a heinous act of animal abuse and animal cruelty.
Some people say, oh, it’s just a dog or just a cat as if that explains everything, as if that means that they can do whatever they want to do. As if that means that they do not have to be responsible.
In Florida, while going to college, I was studying elementary education in hopes of becoming a teacher. At that time, I taught pre-school and babysat a lot to earn money. I often worked for an agency that got me babysitting assignments, much like a temp agency. I worked for them, they paid me. The parents paid them. One Sunday, when the agency was closed, I had an assignment to babysit for two toddlers. I went to the house, was told that the parents would be gone about four hours. Fine. They left. It was only afterwards, I discovered that in this house with fancy furniture, stereo equipment and televisions, the children had NO milk, no juice, no cereal, no bread, no crackers, no fruit, NOTHING in the refrigerator to feed them and NO diapers. The parents did not tell me nor leave me any money for these items. And how was I to get to the store with two toddlers? Plus, instead of four hours, the parents were gone 12 hours. I had to call upon my father who was an hour away to help me. I was furious and the agency as well as the parents got an earful. What kind of parents leave their children without food and diapers yet had plenty of money for luxury items. Seriously screwed up PRIORITIES. Now, I know that I should have called Child Protective Services. Perhaps the agency did. I did not know that I could have reported them.
The point is, that if many homeless people, seniors on food stamps and others are able to keep their pets and feed and take proper care of them, then so can YOU. Where there is a will there is a way. If you are experiencing tough economic times and are thinking about abandoning, neglecting or surrendering your pets, here is a perspective and some resources.
If you take your pet to the shelter, chances are they will be euthanized. Four to six million healthy pets are put to sleep in the USA every year.
Ads on craigslist, taking your pet to the supermarket or ads in the local paper to give your pet away free may put your pet in danger from dog fighters looking for bait dogs, people wanting to make a few bucks who will sell your pet to companies who will experiment on them, and/or others who will NOT give your pet a good home.
Your pet cannot fend for itself and will end up starving, sick or die on the street if you abandon it in your foreclosed home or elsewhere. Why make your pet suffer needlessly? Starvation is a torturous way to die.
There are alternatives to the above scenarios. You can feed your pet with food from local resources such as pet food banks, Pets of the Homeless distribution sites, local churches may be willing to help you, the local SPCA or animal shelter may have food donated for folks in need, all you have to do is ASK. Seek and ye shall FIND. Pets of the Homeless also has programs/grants for shelters who will take pets inside shelter and volunteer vets who treat pets of homeless and low income individuals.
Animal rescue organizations are also a great resource who may be able to assist you to find a new home for your pet, find food, and other resources for your pet.
There are networks of animal advocates such as the Patrick Movement on Facebook (born on facebook, an informal grass roots group of hundreds of thousands of animal advocates worldwide touched by Patricks story, with 60-80 facebook pages). You can start with The Patrick Miracle and there are almost 50 The Patrick Movement pages, one for your state, fill in the blank)…
Best Friends Animal Society also has a national network of animal advocates.
American Dog Magazine, list of financial assistance resources for vet bills, http://www.theamericandogmag.com/non-profit/resources-veterinary-bills-financial-assistance
YOUR choice is love and responsibility or indifference and irresponsibiity. Please choose LOVE. There are way too many suffering animals in this world. Thank you.
Cici and I are proud to be a collection site for Pets of the Homeless… Patrick’s Pet Food Bank in Seaside, California. We have helped a 78 year old lady feed her three dogs during a dire time, several military families as well as lone individuals feed their pets.
If you’d like to help feed hungry pets, in honor of Patrick, you can donate food and/or send donations via paypal (just click here or the paypal link on the blogroll).