05 August 2008

The Poor Animals

God made all the creatures and gave them our love and our fear,To give sign, we and they are His children, one family here.
~Robert Browning~
I started a new volunteering job yesterday. I have worked with a local Humane organization, AOHS, for a few years now. I started out helping them with their annual dinner/fundraiser, and then my daughters and I volunteered to clean cages and socialize kitties that they keep at local Petsmart stores. (They are rotated in and out of the stores if they don't get adopted quickly, so they aren't in cages forever.) This organization does not have a shelter. Cats are kept in foster homes and brought to local pet stores for adoption events.
Anyway, after I had to deal with my leg issues last winter, I had to stop cleaning the cages for a while. Recently they posted that they needed someone to help answer calls for their relinquish line. This is the number people call if they have found cats or want to get rid of the ones they currently own. There's a woman who has done this by herself for quite a while, and she needed a few days off each week. So I agreed to answer the calls on Monday's and Tuesday's.

Basically all I have to do is call into the mailbox, listen to the messages, call the people back and try to offer them solutions and then log the call online. I just started this yesterday and I am already losing faith in mankind!

I have taken 14 calls in the last two days. There was a call from a woman who said her neighbor moved out 2 days ago and left their cats behind. An unfixed adult male and female, and a kitten. (Wonder why there was a kitten? (Hello, ever heard of spay and neuter?) She and some neighbors were feeding the cats, but didn't think they should be left outside. We were able to take the kitten and place it into one of our foster homes with another litter, the 2 adults will have to go to the local animal control where they may or may not get euthanized. Who moves and leaves their animals behind????? Too many people unfortunately.

Another woman had a 5 year old Purebred Angora cat. She'd had it for all it's life, but has just now decided that since it doesn't get along well with her other cats, she doesn't want it anymore. How can you just stop caring for an animal you've had for 5 years? It didn't have behavior problems, just didn't like the other cats in the house. I was able to pass her off to a breed rescue, but I feel sorry for that cat, who has to leave it's home, because the owner just grew tired of her.

There were several calls from people who were moving and didn't want to take their cats with them. Is it the cats fault that their owners had to move? I gave them suggestions of other shelters to call, suggested asking friends and relatives to take them, or even putting an ad in the paper. I begged them to not just leave their cats behind if they can't find them homes. Better to call the local animal control, then leave them defenseless and starving.

Another woman called to say she had found a cat, fixed and de-clawed, friendly, appeared to be a happy house cat. She had it in her garage. She had already called the police and other shelters to see if someone reported it missing. No one had. There was nothing wrong with this cat! Could this be another move and throw away?

I am saddened by what I learned in just the last 2 days. The other woman who answers the line did tell me this could be depressing. It isn't so much depressing as it is infuriating. Animals bond to us, they have feelings. I have taken in two strays and they are so much more appreciative of their lot than my two pampered purebreeds. It is as if they know they almost didn't have a chance and we gave them one. One of my strays was a fixed and de-clawed cat that was obviously someones at one point. I wonder if his owner moved away and decided to throw him to the wolves, so to speak. He was skin and bones when we found him, so we know he was out a while.

I want to take these people and kick them to the curb for a few days and see how they feel? Let them stay out in the rain and have to scrounge for food. How can you reach people who think animals are disposable? It's obviously not easy seeing as homeless animals are a huge problem for society. We have at least 4 shelter based rescues in our county, and our local animal control. All of them are full at this time. Hundreds of animals with no one to adopt them, and more out on the streets with no where to go. I hope I am doing my small part by helping take these calls. I did convince one woman to keep a kitten that was left behind when a man was evicted from his home. I spoke with another woman who was overwhelmed at the thought of moving to Florida and driving her cats down there. I told her how she could manage in the car, what she would have to do. I tried to persuade her to keep her cats. She at least said she'd think about it.
I'm only one person. but I'm doing my best. I'm not even hoping for everyone else to their best, but I wish they would at least agree to continue to care for the animals they brought into their homes.

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
~St. Francis of Assisi~


Stephanie said...

You are doing a good thing!

Several months ago stray beat up cat ended up at my house. It was probably in a fight, it was bleeding and weak.

We brought a bowl of water to it but he didn't drink it. He ended up squeezing through the air vents and got under my house.

I called animal shelters, I called the police, I called vets, nobody could do anything.

My dh and I were outraged that all of these people were just gonna let it die. He probaby was too far gone to help but the principle was still there.

He died overnight and Jason disposed of him.
Poor cat. I suppose he found our house a safe place to die.

We used to get so many stray dogs in CA, we said there was an invisible sign in our yard that only dogs could see.

We always found them homes.

a conscious life said...


Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

It angers me so when people think animals are throw away items...

unschoolermom said...

I'm glad there are people like you who care! Love the quote from St. Francis, too. :^)