I wrote this some months ago but was reluctant to post. I hope Blossom and Pepo are OK.
Today I sacrificed my principles for an easy life but came away with renewed purpose. It seemed an easy thing to do; return Pepo and Blossom to the SPCA to await their new owner. They will spend no more than two weeks there I was told, so it seemed the sane thing to do.
Pepo and Blossom came to be fostered by me in late November 2009. I was told they were scheduled to be PTS unless they could find a home. I was not in the market for another dog, never mind two. However, since moving into the new house, I had been fostering a dog at a time for rehoming. It was my way of doing something good as thanks to the Universe for blessing me with so very much in my life.
From the word go, they were hard to live with. They were snappy with men, aggressive with any animal smaller than themselves (and I have two small dogs, two rabbits, two guinea pigs and several foster sugar gliders), marked compulsively and really liked the sound of their own voices. Within 20 minutes of arriving, Blossom had bitten the tail of one of the female foster sugar gliders! Even my 9.5 year old Sheeri mutt sighed at their impudence and imprudence. For the first time in years, I saw her curl her lips in warning.
Yet, there were moments when I could’ve sworn they were the sweetest little creatures ever. Pepo has the most charming way of slowly insinuating himself on your lap when you take a break from gardening. When you look down in surprise, he looks at you as if to say, “You look like you need some love”, promptly tucks his head into the crook of your arm and sighs.
Watching Blossom play basketball with the kids, you’d never think her a day older than 6 months. She’s all skinny legs and enthusiasm. The joy in her eyes when she noses the ball away from the kids, Shaq couldn’t have been happier. And the way she lets Pepo hog our laps while she contents herself with resting her slightly peppered muzzled on our knee brings me to suspect strongly some kind of blood bond beyond that of mere siblings, though we will never know for sure.
After the destruction of many pairs of shoes (something which greatly pains me as I have a strict policy of only buying what I need to control my carbon footprint, and have coped with six pairs of footwear for the last four years.) I had to draw the line when Blossom began to routine attack Clifford and Chloe, Jon’s Maltese and Katelin’s Chihuahua. On the first working day of 2010, Blossom broke skin and drew blood. Benign Clifford shivered in fright all the way to work. She got him on the way out, into Jon’s car as they were heading off to work.
There was no way I could defend them against that, so in a 15 second flash of cockiness, Blossom frankly broke the camel’s back. And so I took them back with a slightly heavy heart. Nonetheless, I felt justified in the end as they would only be there for a little while until their new owner would come to get them She was a kindly lady who took in unwanted dogs and had a small holding in Semenyir I was assured.
But I left feeling nauseous, and tears I refuse to cry burned in the back of my eyes. I will do something more. The SPCA does what it can, that no one can deny. But unless more people adopt, there is only one thing waiting for the animals in pounds and shelters.
So here are my suggestions to control the population of unwanted animals. If there are any better ides, please share. If you are reading this and know how to have it implemented, or who to show it too, please do!
- State governments should enforce micro-chipping for BOTH cats and dogs. This will allow for easy record keeping and returning of lost animals to owners.
- Then all animals should have a license. There should not be a limit on how many animals a family may keep provided they are neutered. Current licensing laws made it difficult to law abiding citizens to foster and adopt as many will risk contravening some arbitrary council decision regarding the number of allowed dogs.
- However, licensing rates should be as follows. For neutered pets, the license should cost no more than RM5. For intact animals over 9 months of age, each license should cost RM500.
- Perhaps a special license or collective license could be created for breeders. This step could reduce the number of backyard breeders as those serious about their hobby will pay. This special license could also be awarded subject to an inspection by an independent body to ensure breeding animals are kept humanely.
- All councils should be selective in their animal catching practices and target only intact animals. Currently, members of the public are reluctant to practice TNR as they feel their time, money and effort will be wasted when the council catches animals that have already been neutered and tipped.
With these five steps, I think we could effectively reduce and control the number or unwanted animals in 5 years or less. This plans allows everyone to help, from the person on the street who can only afford to neuter one dog per year, to the more affluent who would adopt more homeless animals, if legislation permitted, to the NGOs and animal rights groups to the big guys in the ivory towers.
So I’m writing to as an appeal. Please read it with your heart as well as your eyes. If there is anyone out there who knows how to make this a reality, please get back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, please forward this. Maybe get it published in a newspaper, company magazine, school magazine or high traffic blog? I considered providing pictures but I know that people may just want to use them as ammunition against the shelters so I will not. At least they are doing something for the animals. Now will you?