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Placing the Blame Where It Belongs

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Posted February 12, 2010 by Rachelle Owen

This is our second blog from PETA president Ingrid E. Newkirk asking you to make a difference to help these animals and millions of others. Have you taken action yet?

Stay loud!
-Rachel

Warning: Graphic photos.

I know the photos are upsetting, believe me. But you have to understand a problem in order to fix it. And that’s what we want you to do—to start understanding the real source of the problem. The killing of homeless and unwanted animals isn’t going away, and it’s not because animal shelters don’t care (they do, and many workers pour their hearts into their work). The real reason—and here’s the truly shocking part—is that many dog and cat lovers are the problem. That’s right—the very people who should care the most are often those who create the problem.

cat
It took several days to trap this hound, who likely had gotten lost while hunting or had been abandoned at the end of hunting season. He was suffering from a crushed femur, a dislocated leg, heartworms, hookworms, and Ehrlichiosis, which is similar to Lyme disease.
Shelter workers will tell you that dogs and cats come through their doors with embroidered blankets, painted toenails, or folders filled with “papers”—signs that the animals were once valued. Some were bought on a whim as Paris Hilton—style “arm candy,” and others were surrendered because their guardians went off to college; went on vacation; moved north, south, east, or west; married someone who was allergic; got divorced; or couldn’t be bothered to cope with the animal’s barking, fur, size, or normal physical and psychological needs. (Surprise—animals need to be fed and walked, and their litter boxes need to be cleaned.)

cat
This feral cat was likely attacked by another animal; the attack left the tendon in her leg painfully exposed.
Many of the “dumped” are living, breathing testaments to the collapse of sub-prime mortgages and loans. When times got hard, pink slips arrived, and bills mounted up, thousands of Peppers and Princes and Peaches ended up on the street, literally and figuratively. And they’re still pouring through the doors of animal shelters—the ones, that is, who weren’t left in abandoned houses, later to be found barricaded in closets or on chains in back yards.

Pit Bull
This dog’s penis had been prolapsed for over a week and had become painfully infected. The dog’s guardian had no money for vet care and called PETA to help ease the animal’s suffering.
Some refugees from human failures and home foreclosures will languish in a shelter cage for life. You can see them, turning in ever tighter circles; barking frantically at every visitor, as if to recount their story; or sitting with their backs turned to the world, unresponsive to sweet talk, all hope gone. Every one of these anxious individuals must wonder how it is that this guardian or that family, their family, their person, whom they believed would always be there to guide them and care for them, has vanished, leaving them confused and displaced in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable cell.

cat
This cat’s guardian allowed her to roam outdoors. She disappeared for several days, and when she came back her leg had been degloved and all the bones were exposed.
Unwanted dogs and cats are in their own way a bit like carbon emissions: They are invisible to most of us because they are kenneled in animal shelters that are often tucked away on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, in impoverished neighborhoods, or down country roads. They are invisible, unlike the animals in bright, shiny mall pet shops. Like carbon emissions, they are the product of careless and egocentric lifestyles and a reluctance to connect the dots

cat
A hoarder had allowed this kitten to suffer from a prolapsed rectum.
This year, animal shelters will be forced to kill millions of wonderful dogs and cats for lack of one thing: a good home. Why? Because many of the people in your local dog park or veterinary waiting room—people who truly love their dogs and cats—have behaved irresponsibly by obtaining an animal from a pet shop or breeder and failing to have him or her spayed or neutered.

These are the people who are responsible for taking the lives of homeless animals—not your local shelter workers. For, just as buying clothes that were made in sweatshops supports child labor, buying a dog or cat from a breeder or pet shop contributes to the death rate in shelters.

When people buy a dog or cat, perhaps they think that homeless animals don’t factor into their purchase, or perhaps they are honestly oblivious to the hundreds of thousands of animals who are waiting on death row at this very moment. I’m sure that such people don’t see themselves as signing some animal’s death warrant when they sign their credit card receipt, but that’s what they do. They have room in their home and heart that could be filled by rescuing one of those wonderful, loving dogs or cats who were booted out, got lost, or fell victim to a human’s accident or death. They would have felt that animal’s gratitude for years to come.

cat
This feral cat was found roaming the streets and suffering from serious neck wounds that had been left untreated.
There is one more way in which people add to the crisis, and that is by fooling themselves into thinking that it doesn’t count if they breed their dog or cat that one time. It does matter very much. Please join PETA in calling on the governors of all 50 states to endorse mandatory spay-and-neuter laws that would require dogs and cats to be sterilized unless their owners purchase an annual breeding permit—the cost of which would fund low-cost spay-and-neuter services.

Everyone who breeds their dog or cat believes that their friends will flock to take home the new arrivals. After all, that animal is the prettiest and smartest in the world. But again, a pound pup or shelter Siamese could fill that space (to say nothing of the spaces that will later be taken up by the descendants of those new puppies and kittens if they aren’t spayed or neutered before they’re given away). And if homes can’t be found for all those adorable pups and kittens, people find themselves handing them over
the counter at the animal shelter along with those six magic, guilt-shifting words, “You won’t kill them, will you?”

Posted by Ingrid E. Newkirk

Placing the Blame Where It Belongs

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  • 1372 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    What’s really awful is how this kind of stuff happens everyday to animals. Why don’t some people just care more? If you’re not gonna love your pet then at least have the decency to give them a better life.

  • 1965 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    dose pictures are quite graphic. there should be a warning.

  • sue

    1968 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Humans are unbelievable who let things like this happen. Our babies depend on us and we must not let them down.

  • 1968 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    I agree with you 100%. I see dogs everywhere where i live out in the country and there is no one here to help them. I am working on that problem at the moment. Hopefully something good happens.
    I think people should spay and neuter their pets. it would help a ton.
    All of our dogs and cats are.
    Also is a problem with breeding horses. There are so many unwanted horses going to slaughter cause people cant geld their stallions or give their mare a drug that keep them from coming into heat.
    We get unwanted horse from the kill pen at auctions and train them to be nice kid safe horse or ponies.

  • dia

    1968 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    i’ve sent an email to my representative, & i’m also going to be writing a letter. this is WRONG. it is not fair for these poor animals to have to suffer through all of this because of careless owners. it’s not right.

  • 1968 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Oh! Those pictures are just so heart-breaking!

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