This meme has been floating around social media for some time, often accompanied by a flurry of rants against mankind. I'm sure all of us here agree that dogs are not commodities. Here's the part of the quote where I have to strongly disagree:
"it doesn't point to a problem with the shelter, it points to a problem in the community"
Who is more responsible for the welfare of the animals in our community, than those hired to take care of them?
Would we be appalled if the Chief of Police shuffled off murders, rapes, and child abductions as a community problem? Or would we expect the police department to be implementing improvements?
What if social services put up photos of abused babies or homeless kids, threw up their hands, and said, "Well? Their parents are irresponsible, and we blame the community". Is that acceptable? Or do we hold social services accountable for providing shelter and solutions?
Our municipal pounds and rescue groups need to take a positive leadership role for the animals in our communities. It's our profession, one we have chosen, to take care of the abused, defected, and throw aways. Even more so, it's our duty to stop it from happening, and stop blaming the irresponsible public.
Just as our public offices have created neighborhood safety initiatives, reporting mechanisms, and programs to help men become better dads, so must we initiate pet retention, stop preaching about spay/neuter and do something to bring it to those who can't afford it, and creatively adopt out those animals who do end up in the shelters.
Last weekend marked the 3 year anniversary of some major changes at our community pound, the RCACP. Not too long ago, thousands of cast offs being killed were deemed a community problem because folks just weren't getting their animals fixed, and "there were not enough homes for them all".
Three years later, the RCACP allows volunteers, adoptions, and attends events. The live release rate- the number of animals leaving the pound alive- has increased dramatically. On the flip side, the number of animals entering the pound has decreased, combining for a true formula of success. Those stats are a result of admitting we had a problem at our shelter, then working hard to come up with solutions.
We are extremely proud and grateful to those who got us to this point. Our goal at Angels of Assisi is to continue to work on shelter prevention (keeping animals in their homes and out of the pound), and commit to finding homes for the ones who do end up homeless. It's our chosen profession, our job, and our duty. But mostly, it's just plain fun.