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Posted By Ann

     I love reading your comments; Sally has written about her cat Purdey who was seriously injured and now gets round on three legs. This is such an uplifting story as it demonstrates the remarkable power, courage and will to live inherent in cats. Hopefully it will encourage others who face a similar situation to give their cat a chance.

      When we think of unwanted strays it is usually dogs and cats that come to mind but there are many different creatures that swell the ranks of the homeless. Horses, donkeys, sheep and goats also find themselves abandoned. I had a hen for many years that simply strolled in at my drive gate. All my efforts to find her home  failed, so I gave her a name, Wanda, because she wandered in, and she joined my little band of hens and repaid me by laying about five eggs a week.

      A groundswell of opinion is spreading across the world about what to do with the vast numbers of surplus cats and dogs that are killed annually, lets not use fancy words like euthanased, even less ‘put to sleep’, the plain fact is they are killed.  It took one of my cats to bring this home to me, I had rescued him from the local pound, I was appalled to learn that he knew he was under a death sentence.

      I had never thought much about ‘No-kill shelters’ other than to think they were a nice, if sentimental, idea and totally impractical. With such vast numbers of stray cats and dogs something had to be done about them.

      When my son adopted a dog from a no-kill shelter I actually argued with him that such places could not work – eventually they would have so many animals they would have to kill.

      That has been the reasoning of those who ran Shelters (so-called – how can it truly be called a shelter when in reality it is a waiting room for death). Then in 1994 a shelter in San Francisco became the first in the United States to operate a shelter with a No Kill policy and the No Kill movement was born. This was the beginning of an ethical social movement to stop the killing every year of hundreds of thousands of healthy dogs and cats. The figures are astronomical and a dark blot on our so-called civilisation. a staggering 5 million in the United States; Australia with a far smaller population, 250,000 How can this be stopped? How can you and I do our bit?

 

Below:  Crystal, arrived at a shelter 2 days before giving birth to six puppies, now enjoing a happy life.

Crystal - once a pound dog

 
Posted By Ann

     The obvious solution to the problem of surplus to demand dogs and cats surely lies at the beginning, not the all too soon end of so many lives?

      Puppy (and kitten) mills churning out endless cute babies to supply the Pet shops are one of the problems, legislation to stop pet shops selling puppies and kittens would help considerably here, These shops rely on impulse buyers, who in a very short time can become impulse disposers. Why pay boarding fees when you go away on holiday – take it to the local Shelter and go to the pet shop for another when you get home is a much easier solution. ALL dogs and cats kept as pets should be de-sexed. Vets and animal societies can help here by making it cheaper. A much stricter policing of breeders would also help.

      Get rid of sentimental and woolly thinking, it is NOT cruel to stop a cat or dog breeding, It is irresponsible and cruel to bring puppies and kittens into a world that has no room for them. Those who do let their dog or cat have a litter and then take the results to the local Shelter in the misguided belief they will be found good homes should be told the truth, They are much more likely to be killed, Less than 40% get re-homed and the older they are the less likely it is. People want a playful puppy or a cute kitty and when it very quickly outgrows that stage then it may well find itself unwanted again.

      Many years ago I bred cats, my only excuse that in those days a pedigree and a high price tag gave a puppy or a kitten some sort of security. Not any more. Purebred dogs abound in Shelters and you will find cats and kittens of every shade and shape and length of coat, as beautiful as any coming from breeders’ catteries.

      I found Lily in Ingrid’s Haven, a no kill cat shelter, she was one of literally dozens of kittens rescued at the eleventh hour, to be de-sexed and taken to the Haven instead of killed. Lily was lucky, she found her way to a no-kill cat shelter where she would be safe for the rest of her life even if no-one adopted her. She could have just been a statistic, one of approximately 60,000 kittens killed each year in Australia. Lily is now the cover girl on my new book, which is quite a step from the throw away kitten a breath away from extinction.

Lily

      She has made me re-think all my ideas and pre-conceived notions about the way we deal with excess animals. Lily is now an exquisite young cat, extremely intelligent, loving and mischievous. Above all she relishes life and gets the maximum enjoyment out of it. I question our right to deprive her, and others like her, of this.

      We who love animals must do something collectively to stop the huge death toll of puppies, kittens, cats and dogs. The really appalling thing is that numbers are rising – not falling – proving that the current practice of killing those who fail to find new homes quickly is not working. A good start would be if we all adopted the slogan:

DON’T BREED OR BUY WHILE HOMELESS PETS DIE

 

 

 
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Ann
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