Unwanted Pets Unceremoniously Dumped Anywhere, Everywhere
By Rebecca Stroud // May 10, 2015
Dependent animals casually discarded
The Animal Advocate, By Rebecca Stroud
There were three of them. Lean, dark and rangy; tongues lolling, eyes glittering. A pseudo-pack traveling hurriedly together down a residential street…feral, hungry hounds.
Then there were two. Fat, furry puppies the highway had claimed as its own. Little brother askew on the barren shoulder of the road; tiny sister cradled in the grassy median. Identical dead babies, terrified littermates seeking help that came barreling by in a ton of steel.
There was just one. In a motel parking lot, a young cat crying and clinging…green eyes wide with panic, nosing anyone and everyone who held a room key. Following, circling, searching. Vainly waiting.
Day after day, from sea to shining sea, unwanted pets are unceremoniously dumped anywhere and everywhere.
As easily as taking out the trash, dependent dogs and cats, puppies and kittens are casually discarded with not even a second glance.
Before their usually agonizing death, these animals can become more than nuisances. Scavengers at best – hunters at worst – homeless, they roam the streets, the neighborhoods, your front yard.
Although first and foremost seeking food, a murmur of kindness is sustenance that some would die for. Just one gentle word translates into a glimmer of hope. Love me, please, don’t leave me.
Because Florida attracts tourists like bees to honey, abandonment rates are high. Some visitors acquire a pet while here, then decide it’s not worth the hassle to “take the thing home.”
Left in RV parks, restaurants, or on I-95, the results are usually the same. So roadkill quickly becomes just another name for mercy.
“Animal illiteracy” is cruel and tourists by no means control the market.
Too many of our own citizens operate under the ignorant belief that pets are disposable and, as a former shelter employee, I stand as solid witness to this sad fact.
Excuses run the gamut from moving to the dog peed on the new carpet to it’s old and needy now…excuses that make my blood boil.
Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets that can immediately eliminate this woeful situation but we, collectively, do hold a smoking gun.
Early education is key. Though old dogs do learn new tricks, humans seem to have a blockage to change that hardens with age.
Therefore, our children must be taught from the get-go that animals are not merely possessions; that they are indeed living beings with feelings, real and true and deep.
For only with learning comes awareness, which begets compassion and, consequently, some measure of humility.
And, for our own good, we cannot continue in our arrogant belief that we are the only life on this earth that matters.
So as the tail-lights disappear into the darkness, leaving trembling bundles of fur and faith staring futilely after the fading red glare, some of us need to do some serious soul-searching and ask ourselves: “Are we there yet?”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Stroud is a former newspaper reporter and columnist. She is now an independent author who has published numerous books and stories, including The Killing Sands, Murder 9.0, Dragon’s Moon, Devil’s Moon, Do Unto Others, The Animal Advocate, A Three-Dog Night, Zellwood: A Dog Story and Jinxed.
In addition to writing, Stroud is an editor and avid animal lover. She lives in Cocoa with her husband and their adored catahoula-boxer mix.
To contact Stroud, e-mail RebeccaStroud@aol.com