Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Defining the Goals - My Wish List

I have been thinking about what my hopes are for the pet community I belong to and enjoy so much. I know I can't do everything, but I can do something. Defining my personal goals and beliefs helps me organize my thoughts and move forward on my actions. Although I call this a "Wish List", I do believe each of these goals is achievable - real world, in our lifetime, it-could-start-today-if-we-all-worked-hard achievable. So here is my list:

  • No shelter animal will be killed solely on the basis of its breed, its status as an abused pet or for population control.
  • Every shelter pet will receive a fair evaluation by at least one qualified individual.
  • Any dog deemed "dangerous" will receive an individual evaluation by a behaviorist, the results of which will be duly considered in determining the most humane outcome.
  • Euthanasia will be used to end suffering of pets deemed medically hopeless by a Veterinarian.
  • Euthanasia will be performed only by a Veterinarian, using the gentlest method modern medicine has to offer - currently, sedation followed by intravenous injection.
  • Shelters will keep accurate, detailed records which will be accessible to the public.
  • No laws will be enacted which require the forfeiture of a pet due to breed, reproductive status, or unreasonable burdens which the owner could not bear.
  • All pet breeders will be ethical and responsible in word and deed.
  • All pet owners will provide appropriate care for the life of their pets unless unforeseen circumstances prevent that, in which case they will responsibly rehome the pet.
  • In cruelty cases involving the mentally ill, provisions will be made to allow for mental health treatment of the abuser. Each case will be evaluated on an individual basis to determine if circumstances exist which might allow for the person to own a pet in future, under close supervision by family, friends and authorities.
  • Pet food companies will manufacture their products with quality ingredients using NRC guidelines and feeding trials, test their food with transparency to consumers, label with COOL and advertise honestly.
  • Any organization claiming a mission to help animals will raise funds and/or lobby for legislation with complete and easily accessible transparency to the public.
  • Any organization claiming a mission to help animals will first, do no harm.

Yeah, there are challenges. I know. To name a few:

  • How do we fund the advancement of these goals?
  • How do we define the terms so that we are all on the same page (or at least reading from the same book)?
  • How do we legally enforce the mandates while maintaining a balance with our individual rights as American citizens?
  • How do we educate and assist pet owners in remote areas with high poverty levels?

I don't have all the answers. I have ideas though - and a blog! So I got that goin' for me.

I would love to read your personal wish list for the pet community. I'm sure there are important things I left off mine. I consider it a work in progress.


Anonymous said...

I wish Humans would understand that animals don't have egos and stop puting them in costumes, breeding them to look perfect without addressing the concequences of such breeding.More?

Lisa said...

How about some gigantic honking sales tax--maybe 100%--for sales of cats and dogs, with the proceeds going directly to legitimate, humane, no kill shelters to care for and ultimately find homes for displaced pets.

How about publically acknowledging that bigotry is bigotry, no matter what the target; and that much of the bigotry surrounding dog breeds is mired in racism and classism targeting certain types of people.

And just as a general, broad-ranging, all encompassing wish, I wish we'd value pets more, for all the amazing, wonderful things they do for us every day, and treat the rare instances of violence as the anomalies they are.

Katie said...

I wish people wouldn't be afraid of my dogs because of the way they are built. They can't see the happy smiles and wagging tails, the fluid easy relaxed bodies. All they see is big fat head and the drama that is splashed all over the evening news.

I wish puppy stores would fall out of favor and go under and that all breeders would be responsible enough to take back any dog they produced at any point in that dog's life.

I wish people would obey the freaking leash law so that I could walk my dogs in my neighborhood without fearing for anybody's safety.

I wish low-cost and/or free spay/neuter were more readily accessible and available to those who need it.