Don't Blame The Dog Catcher
I read on another blog about a responsible pet owner who had to put her beloved companion and loyal friend down several days ago. My heart goes out to her as this is the hardest thing a person has to deal with when owning and caring for a furry friend of many years.
But to others who are not responsible pet owners I want you to know something from this former Animal Services Officers point of view, or dog catcher as some still call them. If you had been the responsible pet owner that you should be then your pet would not have wound up in the shelters in the first place. Your animals should be kept up and not allowed to wander the streets freely where they get run over by vehicles. (I had to pick up way to many mangled pets from roadways). They also would not get out and attack others animals or be attacked by ones who are on their own properties or, bite a person walking down the street or on a bicycle.
You do not chain an animal outside in the heat or cold all day with no shelter, food or water. We had to pick these animals up often because of an owners lack of responsibility. How would you like to be left like that all day and for days on end? The animal is at your mercy for food, shelter and water and if you do not provide those things then you do not need to have an animal in the first place. What suffering for the animal to know that you are inside all nice an comfy eating and drinking as you like while they sit outside and suffer from your neglect. But when you finally decide to give them some food and water they still greet you with a wagging tail.
Don't be mad at the officer who comes and rescues the pet from these conditions, if it were you who was chained or left out like that you would want to be rescued to.
Shelter personnel do not like killing animals in the shelter but because irresponsible owners do not tag or keep their animals up so they don't wander and get picked up, the shelters get over crowded and there is just no way they can keep them all. All of the citizens are paying for the food and care of your pet while in the shelter because you were irresponsible. It is a heart wrenching daily task to determine who must die and who still has a few days left of hopefully the owner showing up to claim them. Shelter personnel would really rather the owners claim their pets and take them back home. And if your pet is missing don't just call the shelter to ask if they picked up a brown dog with one floppy ear and a white spot, do you have any idea how many dogs answer that description? The only way to positively identify if your animal is there is for YOU to physically go down and look. Only you know your pet and he you. (You can get chips implanted these days) Okay, so you might have to pay a fine but should you be mad at the shelter personnel for that. Is the safe return of your pet not worth the small cost? NO, then blame falls squarely on your shoulders and no one else, period.
I've heard it all from people who placed blame on us for picking their animals up and bringing them in. People who would not come claim their pet, or worse, people who abandoned animals to live on the street because they "KNew what we did to animals there." So you set your animal out to fend for themselves for food, to get hit by cars, bitten and attacked by other animals (Perhaps Rabid or animals with Parvo), get sick and spread disease and starve to death etc, and you want to make the animal services personal out to be the bad guys!
I'm not going to sugar coat this either, we had to kill animals every single day Monday through Friday because of owners who were not responsible owners and it was easy to put the blame on us for the outcome. Not a single solitary employee liked doing that task. And most of us would get sick to our stomachs every time and you know who we blame? Not the animals but you. You are the cause of it, the death of so many wonderful beautiful animals who loved you but you let them down, your to blame. So don't go in the shelter with the attitude against shelter personnel as the bad guys, it is you. You did not have to hear the noises they make in the chambers or hold them while giving an injection to kill them. You weren't there to stroke there heads and try to calm them down to make it a little more comfortable for them while dying and seeing them take their last breaths forever when just seconds before, their pitiful scared eyes are looking back at you pleading for mercy. You are not the ones who wake up in the middle of the night crying and puking your guts out and asking forgiveness from the lord for the job you had to do!
We would have much preferred that never one animal was ever in need of being in the shelter, that all of them were either returned to loving homes or adopted by new owners and taken home. I don't care what you see in the movies or television about Animal services personnel hating animals, we all got into it because of our love for animals not a hate for them. I've seen animals with their chains grown into their necks, animals so skinny you could see every bone, dogs hanging from rafters in a garage, dogs in ditches dead or dying, abused and severely neglected animals, fight dogs left alive with gaping wounds with live maggots in the wound, gunshot dogs, starved neglected horses and other live stock and the list goes on.
That is all I have to rant about that for now. But I commend and applaud all of you out there who are responsible pet owners and thank you.