Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When Love is Not Enough

Its a hot and timely topic of conversation in the animal loving community .... "Is it really appropriate to punish a dog for failure on the part of the owner to provide the boundaries and guidance necessary to make their pet a welcome and safe part of their community?"
Where does the responsibility lie?  Where should the line be drawn?  At what point should a pet be rehomed into more knowledgeable and confident hands?
Existing bylaws around the province put the onus on the pet.  If the cat is allowed to wander ... if the neighbours are afraid of the dog .... a lethal injection is usually the end result.
There is nothing in existing bylaws to inhibit such owners from replacing the pets that have suffered an Unfair Unhappy Tail.   If successfully prosecuted cruelty convictions can still leave the offenders with their personal pets in custody, what deterrent actually exists?
When love is not enough ... when a pet owner will not admit they are in over their head ... what can the municipalities do?  Under current complaint driven legislation, there is no option other than to wait until the lethal injection is almost the only option.
There are two ways of tackling any problem .. reactive and proactive.   Proactive bylaw legislation would allow for an evaluation process that would include surrendering pets to be rehomed.  
Does that sound harsh?   Who would want to give up their pet?
Nobody ... but the plain simple matter is dogs are like do it yourself kits.  Everything that is needed to become a good dog is there from the get go.  Some dogs simply take more commitment and experience on the part of their owners to make that journey.
That is exactly the reason that reputable rescues and breeders screen potential pet owners so carefully, eh?  
Putting lifesaving proactive legislation in place would protect communities in situations where the pet owner cannot admit to his or herself that they are not the appropriate pet owner for that particular pet.
What time is it?  When love is not enough, its time to provide the framework so that compassion can lead the way.

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