Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention

It was absolutely beautiful outside when the dogs and I were out for our last stroll just now ... one of those rare winter nights where it was warm enough to really enjoy the clear night sky. We're still a few days away from the full moon, so even without my trifocals, the stars were easy to see.
For the past few days, I've been working on a new section of the homeless pet site which is focused on the other end of the stick .... how to keep pets from becoming homeless. Some of it came from an awesome Best Friends webinar that I 'attended' recently .... some came from the No Kill Advocacy Center and some came from our own SPCANS education section.
Hand in hand with that, I opened up a new facebook group tonight to serve in the same self help capacity that the Canadian Military Pets Foster Network . The group is called the The NS Good Neighbour Pet Foster Network and will remain public unless problems arise.
There are of course other things that would help keep pets with their families ... but that involves the kind of advocacy that is kept separate and apart from the homeless pet site. Lifetime licenses for microchipped and altered pets. Free rides home for licensed pets. Forgiving fines for first time offenders when unlicensed pets are impounded. Municipally sponsored dog training workshops. Off leash dog parks to encourage socialization.
Like a stuck record I could go on and on .... but tonight I'm going to add a new bit in .... right now the onus is on the pet owner to find a lost pet. Studies have shown that lost pets are often mistaken for strays .... and so they are either adopted by the person who finds them or entered into the animal rescue system.
AC is subject to all the same budgetary concerns as every other government department. On the surface, it might seem like wasting time they do not have to ask around the neighbourhood about 'strays' they pick up before taking them to the shelter....BUT every animal that does not have to be sheltered represents a fiscal saving too, eh?
Studies have shown that is an effective way to reduce intake at AC shelters ... while at the same time providing a service for grieving tax payers and voters who have lost their pet.
And before the keyboards catch on fire, I am not suggesting that every instance of pet abandonment represents a lost pet. Nor am I suggesting that the pet owners who habitually allow their pets to wander should get the 'free ride home'
What time is it? With this .. as with anything else in life ... its always wise to remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

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