Things That Make You Go Hmm…

Dec 15, 2010 by

If you’ve ever read my blog, you know that I am an animal lover, dog owner and absolute advocate for animals and their care and well-being.  If you read my previous blog regarding The Humane Society of The United States (HSUS), available here, then you also know that HSUS is not what they appear and that my animal advocacy does have its limits.  I will fight vigorously against any organization that promotes the spreading of lies and half-truths regarding animal agriculture. 

Something has been bothering me for a few years now, and with all the nasty weather we’ve had in the past few weeks (and no doubt more to come), I think now is the perfect time to bring it up.

There is a home on the main drag in Havana which houses a family who owns a yellow lab.  This lab, for reasons I will never understand, is locked in an outdoor chain link fenced kennel with a dog house TWENTY FOUR SEVEN.  I have driven past this home countless times; the dog is almost always in the kennel, alone.  This includes times when the family living there was outside, playing in the very yard where the kennel sits, with the dog sitting inside his cage home, behind the fence, watching them.  It makes me want to cry just remembering how sad that poor dog looked watching his family play and being unable to join in. 

This dog is out there in the spring, in the fall, in the blazing heat of summer (though I will say, he was not in his kennel one day when it was 93 degrees…but he was the day before and the day after when it was less than 5 degrees cooler), and in the dead of winter.  Granted, they did put straw bales around his dog house to help serve as a wind break and insulation, but still.  Doesn’t anyone watch the news?  You can’t leave pets outside in extreme weather!  If for some reason this dog cannot be trusted in the house, #1 why did you get it?  and #2. Put the dog in the garage! 

Before all my country friends blow up my comment section reminding me how their outside dogs have all been well-treated and loved, save your breath.  I know!  Believe it or not, I don’t have a problem with outside dogs.  Not at all.  Some dogs are simply too big, too rowdy or too testy to be left indoors all the time.  Personally, I don’t see the point in having a pet if you’re going to lock it outdoors for the majority of its life, but that’s just me.  It doesn’t mean I think you are a bad person if you have outdoor pets. 

What I DO have a problem with are people who chain their dogs to trees, lock them up in kennels and never let them out, don’t provide proper veterinary (or any other) care, don’t let them in during periods of extreme heat or cold, etc.  These things are considered neglect in its most basic form, and also illegal, so it looks like I’m not the only one who has a problem with them. 

While I’m on the subject, here is another thing that boggles my mind:  people dumping their pets off at already overwhelmed and overflowing shelters, simply because they “cannot afford” their pets anymore.  WHAT?!  I understand that many people feel animals are not humans and therefore should not be afforded the same rights, but by the same token…would you drop off your baby at an orphanage because you lost your job?  No.  Pets are a responsibility, a big one, for years to come, and if you have even a shadow of a doubt that you might EVER have a problem affording or caring for a pet, DON’T GET A PET!  Duh.  I have a shadow of a doubt that even if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t be able to afford or properly care for a Ferrari for the “life” of the car, so guess what?  I won’t be buying one.  Dr. Phil is right:  Common sense just isn’t common enough these days. 

If you lose your job, believe me, I know, it’s a horrible feeling.  But don’t dump your dog at PAWS or TAPS because you moved into an apartment that doesn’t accept pets!  Find an apartment that accepts pets!  Find a friend or family member who will care for your pet at their home until you can get back on your feet.  At the very least, put an ad in the paper, online, at the vet’s office, and find a good forever home for your pet.  That animal is your responsibility, not TAPS’ and not PAWS’. 

I know I’m not the only one who’s seen this lab in Havana.  I don’t know what to do about it.  We don’t have animal control, and as much as the dog’s owners piss me off something fierce, I suspect that the dog is still better off there than in a shelter somewhere.  I suppose all that I can do is hope that I am serving as a reminder to my wonderful readers to take the time to really make sure your outside pets are cared for and safe during the winter. 

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