24 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Just want to bump up Justice for Baby, the 11 year old Samoyed who was released back to her owners in NYC. It’s very sad to see a dog in such awful condition, but please visit the website and sign the petitions. Team Baby is getting little to no information from the DA’s office or ASPCA. We’re all getting worried that perhaps Baby has not survived.
    justiceforbaby.org – check it out, cross post and follow the link to FB for updates

  2. I have a concern I would like to address. I have noticed some people in the comments mention “animal rights” in previous posts. I have no idea what your views are on animal rights (and I know this blog is more directed at reforming animal shelters than anything), but I think many blur the distinction between animal rights and animal welfare.

    I am for Animal Welfare. I am not against hunting, or breeding, or raising animals for food. I believe that animals should be treated humanely, have their needs provided for, and not be made to suffer unnecessarily. Animals do not have the right to live, or the right to anything (although, it is our responsibility as moral beings to treat them with kindness and respect, sadly many humans do not). Rights start us on a slippery slope. I love to eat chicken. Does a chicken have a right to live, and not be on my plate, or does that right only extend to animals we commonly view as pets?

    Do pet animals have a right to be free from our ownership? Many who believe in Animal Rights believe so. I happen to like owning dogs and cats, and I’d rather not see that privilege disappear forever.

    That one post comparing euthanizing homeless people to euthanizing dogs (with the picture of the man on the stairs) concerns me. Animals and human beings are not the same. We don’t eat people. People can’t pee on trees in the park in full view of people (well they can, but they might be charged with a sex offense, depending on the state). Yes animals have emotions. Yes they have similar needs to ours for exercise and social interaction. But people always need to come before animals if we want to keep eating meat, if we want to be able to hunt (I love venison, its healthier than cow since it’s been running free all its life), and if we want to keep owning pets, and not have OUR rights as pet owners slowly legislated away; and they are being legislated away, with BSL, Mandatory Spay/Neuter legislation, PA even tried to pass a stupid law that would have killed many pets simply because they are cropped/docked, and Texas is looking at a state-wide law that would mandate some ridiculous restrictions on owners of intact male dogs over a certain weight, including stipulations about the enclosure they must be kept in, and mandating that you have $10,000 liability insurance!

      1. Thanks, I try. :p

        But seriously, it is stuff that every pet owner should be thinking about. H$U$, PETA, and other groups want our only “interaction” with animals to be watching them in the wild from afar, and it would be a very sad day if that were to happen. Everyone involved with animals in any way needs to be aware of these issues and that there is a very clear distinction between Animal Rights and Animal Welfare, and work to keep the Animal Rightists from taking OUR rights away! There are actual bumper stickers for sale that say “Save a Dog, Euthanize a Breeder!” Animal Rightists hate people, they really do. Browse an AR board sometime, it’s some pretty scary stuff. 0_o

      2. Do worms have rights? Maybe we could sue to keep the can open? Although it seems to me, the healthiest way to keep worms is to dig up a little dirt. Hmmm.
        ps. Thank you Cristy for outlining the difference between Rights and Welfare when it comes to Animals. Oddly, I keep coming back to the fact that Humans are Animals too…

      3. She forgot the spaying of pregnant animals can! There’s one that I can’t come to terms with myself. On the one hand who am I to say that they can’t be born? On the other hand if you are a feral caregiver who can’t get help are you really obligated to care for about 30 – 50 cats for a few months because you couldn’t get them spayed before they got pregnant? (note that in certain times of the year every intact female you catch is pregnant so that is where I got my numbers from) And you are already not able to get any help from local shelters and have difficulty adopting out the kittens you do have? That is one decision I am glad I don’t have to make.


    1. Christy – I wholeheartedly disagree…after all, do not animals have an intrinsic value all their own as part of their right to live? What about severely mentally or physically handicapped humans…do they have the same rights as you because they are human, or are they somehow “less” valuable to society because they can never be truly “productive”? Then take it a step further – a human infant has NOTHING to offer more than a dog or cat (that being the release of oxytocin and the love instinct). SO, do they deserve to be considered more important than your cat or dog? BTW, there are humans that eat humans. Also, you paint your picture of AR with quite a broad stroke – not AR people believe what PETA believes, so be careful…the worms are listening.

    2. It gets confusing. Some people say they really don’t want to see shelter pets killed but turn around and kill them (or offer support to those who do the killing).

      Some people say being vegan is the only ethical way of life if you truly want to be no kill. Others feel there are significant differences between pets, wild animals and food animals. I probably fall into that category but again, it gets confusing.

      For instance, Billy and I have talked about having chickens so that we could provide eggs to our dogs (and ourselves). I imagine those chickens would be like pets to us, even though they wouldn’t be in the traditional pet role (living in the house with us, etc.)

      What if one of those chickens died – say of old age? Would we process the carcass for dog food? We would not. It would seem wrong due to the chicken’s pseudo-pet status. We do however feed chickens bought from the store to feed our dogs. I know some people would find this sitch hypocritical or at least irreconcilable. I don’t. But I will add that I would really prefer to buy chicken knowing that the animals were raised and slaughtered humanely. Right now, obtaining meat like that is the exception, not the norm. I’d like it to be the norm.

  3. “We don’t eat people.”

    We don’t HAVE to eat animals. It is a choice. One can live a long and very health life without eating animals. The earth would be healthier too if we didn’t eat animals. We could feed more starving people if we didn’t feed animals that we are going to kill and then eat.

    1. Well, and actually, there have been times and places where humans HAVE eaten people. And frankly, there are places on the planet where eating meat is the best/healthiest/easiest way to survive. (This would actually be WHY humans evolved and took over the planet, because we figured out how to catch/eat whatever what around.)
      Today many of us can choose. But others of us have already chosen for us…until we stop supporting agribusiness and the junk food alliance, many of us will be *stuck* in a meat and greed society.

  4. Daniela Says:
    March 25, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    She forgot the spaying of pregnant animals can!


    You raise a good point about the issue of feral queens. Were we to set that issue aside, for the sake of discussion, would you find yourself better able to offer a definitive answer? In other words, how do you feel about the spaying of pregnant dogs and cats (excluding feral cats)?

    1. Honestly if you take feral cat colonies out of the equation entirely then I think I come down against pregnant spays. If they are pet animals where mom and babies can be adopted out once they are healthy then unless there is a compelling reason not to then I think they should be allowed to give birth and then be neutered before adoption. Especially since kittens and puppies are so adoptable already. And by compelling reason I mean something like “this animal is so sick carrying the pregnancy is a death sentence”.

      The feral cat one is a big one for me because it seems like most feral catgivers are in it by themselves – not for lack of trying but because there isn’t much help out there for them. TO require them to add a huge jump in numbers to their care (especially since it would happen when they are just starting the trapping/neutering process) will probably scare them off – which is the last thing we really want in those cases. Also there is a philosophy that says if you take a feral cat out of its habitat for more then a few weeks you have tampered with its instincts and it isn’t right to just dump it outside again – ie you can’t just stop taming because it gets too hard and just dump them back outside. So taking care of the queens and the kittens means that they would be obligated to sanctuary all those adult female cats. Sanctuarying one or two because they had a medical issue that needed a lot of care isn’t too big of a deal. Sanctuarying every single female you capture in the spring because they were pregnant is.

      Should we ever get to the point where the entire nation is no-kill and you can drop those kittens off and they will be adopted into good homes very soon I will probably change my mind on the feral cat spays. But while 70% of cats going into shelters are being killed I just can’t blame people who decide to help the ones who are here and don’t add to the burden with ones not yet born.


      1. Ideally feral cat caregivers can take kittens out of the colony once they’re weaned and find homes for them after they’ve been fostered and socialized for
        a while. If you leave the kittens in the colony, they’re very vulnerable to illness, accidents, predators, etc.–more so than adult cats. They won’t all survive. Some estimates of their survival are as low as 50%. So it’s much better to
        remove them if possible while they’re still young enough to be “tamed.”

        It can be a hard choice to decide whether to spay a pregnant feral cat. By spring, you can pretty much count on all the females you trap being pregnant whether it “shows” yet or not. Toughest call is when you already know the cat is pregnant but many times you don’t know until the vet tells you AFTER the surgery is done.

      2. Yes – Ideally they would tame the kittens and find homes for them. The trick is what do you do between when they are born and when you can find them homes. If you release the pregnant cats then you can’t guarantee that you can retrap them before they get pregnant again or at all. If you keep them then you have a slew of cats in your home and then you have to figure out how to handle the adult females that have been inside for 3 – 4 months while they raise their kittens.

        I think that the consensus is that existing kittens that are caught should be tamed and rehomed where possible. It is the pregnant ones that pose the problems. I have had one little pregnant cat that I trapped. She came with two kittens and presented me with 3 more before I could get her to the vet. It took me another year before I could trap her again so I could get her to the vet for her spaying – and she was in my house the entire time. I can’t begin to imagine how many other kittens I would have if she had been outside the entire time. It took me 6 months to find homes for the 3 kittens (one died, one I kept). If I had just 3 – 4 pregnant females I would have been overwhelmed very quickly.

        I don’t like the idea of spaying pregnant animals, but I can’t really blame someone right now for saying that they are doing all they can for the ones they have and that they would prefer not to bring more into the world. Plus a lot of feral catgivers aren’t supported in their community so it might be easier to do spay/aborts then call attention to themselves and get feeding bans and fines directed at them. That is something that I would like to see change and a reason I support Alley Cat Allies.

        oh an my little feral cat is lying on my couch now. After being inside a year I figured I couldn’t send her back outside to fend for herself so I got myself a house feral that I am slowly trying to tame. I can pet her when giving her treats so I figure it is just a matter of time.


      3. @Daniela, I see what you mean about the pregnant ones. I’ve always let them go ahead and have the kittens and then gotten them spayed after the kittens were weaned. But they were used to me and always showed up at feeding time. Once the kittens were old enough, they came, too. Have to confess, though, I’m not good at finding homes for feral kittens so I’ve got a slew of them at my house–now middle-aged. Mercifully, the colonies dwindled down the way they’re supposed to over time and I didn’t take on any new ones.

      4. Sometimes a pregnant spay is what’s best for the mother’s health. Take the case of a petite yorkie who was accidentally impregnated by a boston terrier mix. A spay early in pregnancy is much safer than C-section later on, even if she’d managed to carry to term.

      5. The entire feral cat argument is a tough one, isn’t it? I have taken in feral kittens and hand reared them and found homes for them. I couldn’t bring myself to trap any of the mothers while they were pregnant so I waited until they had the babies and then found out where they “hid” them and then I trapped the mother and took the mother in to be spayed and released her back outside. Granted not all of the babies always make it – I have had good success with doing it overall. Plus the added benefit of knowing that the mother wouldn’t be having more babies – and the babies got good homes and didn’t add to any over population problems as they were fixed upon placement.

        Sadly, most of the places where I take the ferals to be spayed don’t notify you if the cat is/was pregnant at the time of the surgery until it was over. Although, one vet DID actually call me and tell me that the mother was pregnant and asked me what I would prefer to do. While I was happy that she at least called me…it made it a hard decision on my part to make the call on what to do. But since that one cat in question was one I tried to trap repeatedly for years I HAD to make the call that they do the surgery because there was no guarantee that I would be able to get her again before she got pregnant again. Thankfully she wasn’t that far along, otherwise I would’ve felt really bad about making that decision that I did.

  5. btw, I am OUT of Shelter Pet of the Day submissions so e-mail me if you got one. Otherwise, all y’all are just going to take your chances with me posting whoever I come across…

    Reminder – this is what I need:
    * Photo of the pet (dog, cat or bunny)
    * Name, address and phone number of the shelter
    * Links to shelter’s website and to pet’s listing online (if applicable)
    * If it’s a kill shelter, a link to their stats (if available)

  6. I don’t think you can mix most of us up with the extreme animal rights folks –
    I believe in animal welfare and when I found out how most feed animals live and die, I made the choice to not eat meat and to go without leather, etc as much as possible.
    I believe we should go after irresponsible owners . . . period. They do have a choice about how they treat, breed, etc. their animals. The animals do not.
    I really don’t have all that much trouble reconciling my beliefs, although others might not agree.
    IMHO all living beings have worth and have a right to live humane lives and as much as possible, die a humane death.

  7. A severely mentally/physically handicapped human is more important than an animal. A baby is more important than an animal. I never want kids myself, but I love my friends’ kids, and if it came down to either saving my friend’s baby or my own dog, I’d save my friend’s baby!

    Sure you can choose to eat meat or choose not to. I want to have that choice! I did try to go without meat entirely. My hand started tingling and twitching. I ate meat again. It went away never to come back. I think I need the protein or something. I can’t eat beef or pork anyway, stomach issues prevent that. But chicken, turkey, venison, num!

    Those of you who say the world would be healthier if we didn’t eat meat, have you done research on how much growing mass quantities of crops to feed the world effects ecosystems? Wetlands are being taken over to grow rice. Forest land is cleared to grow crops in many places. Fertilizers and pesticides used have effects on the environment.

    Truth be told, we have hurt the earth in many ways with the products we produce. Google the “Great Garbage Patch” sometime. It is a large patch of plastic garbage floating on the ocean the size of Texas. There are other garbage patches on the ocean smaller in size. The areas under them are dead, or half-dead. Environmental groups are trying to figure out a way to dispose of this plastic, which is tricky, since plastic is made of petroleum and does not decompose.

    The spaying of pregnant animals, well, I have no problem with an emergency spay if your dog or cat gets out and and gets pregnant, and you catch them and do it within a few days or so of them getting out. Past a certain amount of time, might as well let them have the babies. Vets here won’t spay after the fetuses are a certain amount of time along. Pregnant feral cats, we have groups here who trap them, let them have the kittens, either let the moms raise the kittens or give the kittens to fosters to raise as bottle babies (it really isn’t hard, I’ve done it myself), and TNR the moms.

  8. Some breaking news in Texas today.
    The Texas Companion Animal Protection Act (CAPA)

    It seems to be most of the items that people all over the country are fighting shelter by shelter and it’s
    all rolled up in a State bill. Pretty amazing.
    For once the economy might help as it emphasizes some savings because of private rescue involvement.
    If you know anyone in Texas please point this out to them for support.

    From the article
    “If passed, CAPA would abolish the gas chamber, ban “convenience killing” (killing when there are empty cages), mandate collaboration by requiring shelters to work with non-profit rescue organizations to maximize lifesaving, mandate transparency by requiring shelters to report how many animals they kill, and more. It is based on model legislation written by the No Kill Advocacy Center.

    If history is any guide, CAPA will face opposition from shelters who do not want to be regulated, and the large, national organizations which defend those shelters.”

  9. There are a couple of really needy cats needing homes – saw them on Covered in Cat Hair. Sorry I’m so stupid about technology, but if someone can check them out and get them posted here, I’d be very grateful. They are two boys (separate situations) who desperately need homes or rescues.
    Thanks for any help anyone might give this old lady (me)!

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