not at all surprised

I read this yesterday on Facebook and I have been writing this post in stages. The first stage was a very angry. This some of the anger has passed, but I am still angry enough that I need to share.

Does anyone recognize this handsome face? This was Grassroots puppy, Gunner. His adopter "absolutely loved" him. Well, adopter is getting deployed to Afghanistan and wife didn't want the responsibility of dog and kids. Instead of having us pick him up, the adopters ditched him! They signed a contract stating that he would be returned, no questions asked, if in need of rehoming. What is the point of our contract if people do not follow it??? It is in place to keep the animals we have fought to rescue from shelters out of the place that nearly killed them the first time!!

Shame on you. Shame on you for abandoning the trusting soul who depended on you for care. I feel a need to "tag" you to this post, but what good would that do?


Elvis is a sweet, energetic boy who needs a good home.
By: Grassroots Animal Rescue
Photos: 5

Feral pets are a problem in the United States, and from my own experience, they are especially a problem in the deep south. I do not say this because I have a bleeding heart and want to save all the poor, neglected furry animals. Feral dogs account for a huge amount of money each year due to damages across 'multiple resource categories'.1 They destroy crops, livestock, and natural resources. They spread disease to livestock and domestic animals. They alter habitats therefore evicting local wildlife and altering predation and natural ecology of an area. This does not even take into account the threat to human health and safety. Feral cats are equally harmful, but since we are dealing with a dog in this case, I will touch that here.

Running a shelter or a rescue is a thankless job. You rescue animals from deplorable conditions. They are sick and dirty and thin. You send so much time, emotion, and money getting them better or sometimes make a hard decision to euthanize them only to get a new round of forlorn, bedraggled animals. Every animal you get takes a little piece of your self. And it's never ending. The only real reward (because it's not money) is that you place an otherwise hopeless animal in a home where you know it will be safe and loved. This work goes way beyond saving any single animal's life. It helps solve the greater feral pet problem and all the associated problems already mentioned.

I do not presume to know this family's situation. A husband deployed to Afghanistan is certainly nothing I could begin to understand. A single mother worrying about her husband abroad and her kids at home is more than most people have to handle. I do not fault this family for making a very hard decision to give up their pet. I do not even know the full story as I am hearing it via Facebook. People's situations change and sometimes a pet no longer fits. Fine. However, letting this dog loose was not the answer. This type of situation happens all too frequently. This story simply tipped my scale.

When you put a 'collar' on that animal's neck you become its steward. You make the hard decisions that need making. This may mean giving the animal back to the shelter or it may mean euthanizing a sick animal or is may mean fencing in your yard. You have a responsibility to the animal but also the greater community. Simply abandoning your pet or letting it roam intact and procreating or not taking it to the vet regularly is unkind and more important irresponsible.

Please help be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

1 Bergman, David; Breck, Stewart; and Bender, Scott, "Dogs Gone Wild: Feral Dog Damage in the United States" (2009). USDA National Wildlife Research Center - Staff Publications. Paper 862. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/icwdm_usdanwrc/862.

This is only one article among many. A simple Google search will give many credible sources including National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, Cornell University, Purdue University, etc. All these sources say similar things.