Monday, June 21, 2010

Seeing things as they are

A friend of mine lives less than two miles from my place, just over the county line, so she lives in Annapolis County while I live in Kings County.    The other day, the handsome fellow pictured above, showed up at her door.  In spite of her best efforts ... after calling every animal clinic, posting him on facebook and putting him on the radio .... by suppertime there still was no sign of his human.
Did I mention that my friend lives in Annapolis County, and volunteers with CAPS?  Why is that important?  That means that my friend knows the ropes.  She Knows that when dogs at Annapolis County AC aren't reclaimed that, space permitting, they will come into CAPS care.  
She also Knows that if she had kept the dog for a few days while waiting for his owner to show, under the standard 'feed me, I'm yours" policy that Animal Control would have refused to pick up the dog.
So she called Annapolis County AC and they came to pick up this sweet ( intact) youngster after supper.
Now I live in Kings County and things are more of a mystery here.   Whether or not its true, there is generally a lot of pessimism about the prospects for a pet that gets picked up by Animal Control.  Why is that?  Because there is next to no information on the AC page of the county website.  There are no directions to the pound.  There are no pictures of found animals.  There Is a phone number, but there isn't a whole there to inspire enough confidence for most animal lovers to call AC when a stray show up at their door.
Nor is Kings County alone in that respect.  To the best of my knowledge, the only two municipalities that post pictures of the found pets are Annapolis and HRMColchester County Does have a page listing the pets who are available AFTER not being reclaimed, but not a found pet page.
I have a really interesting series of articles on the homeless pet site, with permission, from the Missing Pet Partnership about finding lost pets, and in there, when discussing "rescuer behaviors that create problems" she says that "People who find stray dogs often misinterpret the dog's behavior; they assume that the cowering, fearful dog was "abused" when in fact the dog has a xenophobic temperament and has been shy and fearful since it was a puppy, due to genetics and puppyhood experiences.
Dogs found in rural areas are often assumed to be "dumped" and homeless; many rescuers never think this could be a dog that was lost. Some people who find a stray dog that does not have a collar automatically assume it is "homeless" and therefore they immediately work to place the dog rather than attempt to find the dog's owner.
In addition, the first place the owner of a lost dog will search for his or her dog - the local shelter - is typically the last place that someone who finds a loose dog will take it (due to the fear of euthanasia)!"
In a province where there are always at least twelve dogs in need for every rescue slot, how can we improve the odds that stray pets will go back to their original owners?

  • How about instituting a province wide 'free ride home' for very occasional offenders who are simply 'running at large'

  • in Annapolis County there is now no licensing requirement, but owners are still encouraged to list their pets with AC, for easier identification , jic

  • Some county AC's are actually quite proud of the fines and the fees required to reclaim an unlicensed dog.  In this world where so many people are getting by pay to pay, how many times does the several hundred dollar fee keep people from reclaiming their pets?  All it does is discriminate against those who haven't got deep enough pockets.

  • When County AC departments have relationships with a rescue group, this should be publicized on their website.  Most kind hearts are NOT going to call AC if they are concerned about the outcome for the pet .... while at the same time AC is the first place the distraught pet owners are calling.

  • There should be a provincial listing for lost and found pet photos in this province.  Why?   The intact stray that showed up at my friends door could easily have followed his nose Over the county line, eh?   I'm telling you right now that I would Happily make a page, or pages, on the homeless pet site for any AC that needed the web space

  • Any animal control department is automatically entitled to a petfinder listing.  These are free, publicly available and should be utilized across the board in this province.

  • Instead of treating pet owners like criminals for simple 'running at large', they should be offered something small as a bonus ...such as a little tag with the dogs name and phone number on it.
What time is it?  Its always time to find a way to reunite pets with the owners who DO want them back.
Common sense is the knack of seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be done.   Harriet Beecher Stowe

1 comment:

melgeo126 said...

I've gone to the "pound" on the farm in Baxters Harbour .. SO disgusting!!!
Dog living in kennels in a shed that they converted ... very dirty, not very friendly place for them to be. That was a year and a half ago or so, might be different now - but I doubt it!