Something’s got to give. Every shelter and rescue is bursting at the seams with homeless animals. Follow any pet page and you’ll see dogs and cats lost (or dumped), and people needing to rehome their pets for a variety of ‘reasons’... ‘reasons’ that this writer sees as excuses. The excuse may be that they failed to train their dogs, or maybe they don’t want to clean up after it, or provide it the mental or physical exercise it needs, or to socialize it. Sometimes this leads to something tragic happening with these neglected animals.
Having a pet is like having a child. When you take that step to bring an animal into your home, you should know you will have to make sacrifices of both your time and finances. It will not always be convenient to have a pet, and doing simple things like going away for the weekend can become a challenge. Don’t get me wrong; there are serious and significant life changes when rehoming IS the only option. But regardless of my opinion, one thing I know is that all the suggestions in the world aren’t going to change the minds of people who have decided they are simply done. And that leaves us — the rescuers, shelters, and good citizens — to pick up the pieces. And there aren’t enough of us.
Adoptions have slowed significantly, especially for larger dogs. People aren’t stepping up to foster, and those that do are often fostering animals much longer than they thought they would be. Surrender requests and dumped animals are at an all-time high. Shelters have no space, and at least one states on their website: “The broad consensus is that leaving healthy animals unsheltered is preferable to overcrowding the shelters.”!!! Tell that to the pregnant dog dumped down by the river, or the dogs and cats that are slowly starving to death, or suffering from injuries, or those that get scooped up by malicious people.
We are not going to adopt or foster our way out of this. WE NEED MANDATORY spay and neuter laws. Backyard breeding and irresponsible people who don’t alter their pets — and as a result are having accidental litters — must be held accountable. The Tri-Cities were creative enough to support and enforce breed-specific legislation along these lines (which has since been lifted), so they can certainly figure out how to implement mandatory spay and neuter and stop this endless flow of unwanted animals. Our friends in King County and other places across the country are doing it. So can we.
Tri-City Animal Control Authority has opened their meetings to the public. This is a great opportunity to meet the key players, learn what’s happening related to animal control and sheltering, and share feedback, concerns, and suggestions. The Committee meets the second Thursday of every even month (February, April, June, August, October, December) at 5:30pm in the Pasco City Hall Council Chambers located at 525 N Third Avenue. You can sign up for reminders on the City of Pasco website and review minutes of past meetings.
While having a pet takes some sacrifice, it is also very rewarding. I have fostered so many dogs that I can’t remember all of them off the top of my head, but they all pop up in my mind randomly and I miss them. You don’t always get to maintain contact, so your heart aches wondering how some of them are. Sometimes adopters are happy to maintain contact and update you routinely. It’s pretty amazing to know you helped that dog (or cat) get to a place where they are living their best life, loved and safe.
Dogs give us the gift of their complete acceptance and adoration, despite all our flaws. A dog would never give up on its human. Ever. Do better, Tri-Cities.
We currently have dogs in boarding facilities waiting for a foster home or an adoptive home. Boarding is tremendously expensive, and we can’t afford to continue to do this. We need your help. Every rescue needs your help. Pick one. If you have reservations or questions, please ask. Maybe we can ease your mind so that your heart can make space.