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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Animal Control

Living in a small rural community definately has it's drawbacks. Living 20 miles from the nearest grocery store definately requires you to do some planning and juggle some schedules. You can't just make a quick run to pay your bills or pick up something you might have forgotten. However, these things are the price that we pay for the knowledge that we can walk down the street without being shot at and the pleasure of not hearing 15,000 cars pass by our house each day (though I think the fort shooting off their howitzers sort of limits that pleasure).

However, there is one drawback that I never expected.

We do not have any form of animal control!

Stray animals are an issues in nearly every area. There is simply no way to avoid it. There will always be those people who simply are not fit to care for their pets. There will always be those animals that have escaped from their owners or are abandoned.

So what is the humane way to deal with the matter? The logical answer would be to contact your local Animal Shelter to take the animal in. YOU'DE THINK!!

The fact of the matter is that if you live in a remote area, no one cares about these animals or the people that they are inconvienencing.

Here is the conversation that took place between a co-worker and our local Animal Shelter today:

Co-worker: "Hello, I have a stray dog that I need to find a place for."
Staff: "Where are you?"
Co-worker: "Bum Fuck Kansas"*
Staff: "Well, you need to contact your local animal control officer."
Co-worker: "We don't have an animal control officer, I was told to contact you."
Staff: "Let me see. You need to contact Jill Dogcatcher."
Co-worker: "She no longer works for animal control."
Staff: "Please hold."
Staff: "It appears that Bum Fuck Kansas has not signed a contract with us, therefore we no longer service your community."
Co-worker: "So what am I supposed to do with this dog?"
Staff: "Well, you can bring it in to the shelter, but we charge $80 to take in an animal."
Co-worker: "You're telling me I have to pay $80 to dispose of a stray dog! Why would I do that?"
Staff: "Well, you are not in our service area so we do will not come get the dog."
Co-worker: "Right. But you're telling me if I bring the dog in to you, you're going to charge me $80! What if I run the dog to the city limits with my gun? Then call you to come get him?"
Staff: "WHAT!!"
Co-worker: "Well, that's the option you're leaving me. I'm not paying you $80 to take in a dog that isn't even mine! That's stupid!"
Staff: "Well... um... uh..."
Co-worker: "Basically you're telling me that instead of doing the right thing by bringing this animal in for shelter, I'd just be better off to chase it into town or leave it to starve."
Staff: "Well, no. If you bring the animal after business hours, you can leave it in the drop box for free."
Co-worker: "But if I bring it to you during business hours you're going to charge me $80."
Staff: "Have you tried calling your local police?"
Co-worker: "We don't have 'local' police. We are serviced by the police in YOUR town."
Staff: "Well, have you tried contacting them?"
Co-worker: "Yes, they said I should contact you!"
Staff: "Well, I'm sorry. You're more than welcome to bring the animal in."
Co-worker: "If I bring you $80!! A bullet would be cheaper!!"
If this isn't the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life!!
I realize that caring for stray animals has its expenses, however, this shelter is partnered with the humane society which recieves donations for such expenses. On top of that, the animal shelter charges adoption fees for animals in order to compensate them for the care of the animals.
Can a police officer transport the animal? No! Not unless it is a dangerous animal. Why? Because the animal shelter may bill the police department the $80 fee for the animal! While you might think, "So what, the police department pay it!" I can't help but think how much $80 per stray might add up to. On top of the time the officers would be wasting transporting stray animals, I certainly would rather the money was spent on catching criminals and keeping my neighborhood safe.
So what can you do about these abandoned and neglected animals?
  1. Well, if you are wealthy enough to have a spare $80 laying around, you could pay the shelter the $80 to take the animal in. But since $80 goes a long way in my household (formula for a month, diapers for a month, clothes, groceries, toys, etc.) that is not an option. I imagine that is not an option for most of the people who live around here.
  2. So, your second option is to pack the dog up in the evening and drop it in their "drop box" (WTF?) for free. However, most people have families to tend to in the evenings and work the next day. So driving 40 miles round trip to find a safe home for a stray is not likely.
  3. You could always adopt the dog into your own family. Of course there won't be any agencies bailing you out when you can't afford vet bills, shots, toys, dog food, etc. And when you excede the limits of any city ordinances, you'll be facing fines and more hassel than you could imagine.
  4. I wonder what the shelter would do if you drove the animal into town and kicked it out of your car in their parking lot. Then you could call there number and say, "Do you realize you have a stray dog roaming around in your parking lot?" What are they going to do?
  5. I guess it would be just as easy to drive the animal into any other part of town and release it. You could either call the shelter or hell, leave it for something else to deal with.
  6. You can always kick the animal to the curb and let Darwin's theory take effect. I'm sure the Humane Society highly supports the idea that all these pets will be left on the streets to starve to death.
  7. That being said, I'm certain that the Humane Society would definately NOT approve of my final and most EFFECTIVE method. The cheapest solution is to pack the dog up in your car, drive 2 miles out of town to the country and spend 50 cents to put a bullet in the animal's head!! Personally, I find that much more humane than allowing the animal to starve to death. It also prevents further annoyances and the possibility that the animal may become sick and/or endanger local residents. It saves gasoline by reducing the drive, and as a result also benefits the environment by reducing the greenhouse gases your car would have emitted driving the dog into town. In addition, it will leave an opening for another needy animal in the shelter and the $80 you save will lessen the strain on the economy because the money can be spent supporting your family, making a larger payment on your mortgage, donating to another needy cause, or saving for your child's college fund! This seems like the all around best solution in this particular scenerio.
As an animal lover, I certainly do not promote the idea of randomly shooting all stray animals. However, when local organizations make it difficult to do what is best for these animals, I see no better alternative. Far better to put the animal down mercifully than to see it injured by a vehicle, or struggling to survive on it's own!!

You rock. That's why Blockbuster's offering you one month of Blockbuster Total Access, No Cost.