Tonight I, like many of you, have someone special sharing my Christmas Eve. I have a sweet and beautiful pet, whom a shelter threatened to kill. Surrey’s “crime” was being pregnant and about to give birth. The day the volunteers at the Tipton Co shelter sent out the plea about Surrey, there were two other bitches there, just as pregnant as she was. After I e-mailed my offer to take her, I was directed to the volunteers’ page on Facebook. I scrolled through some of the posts and saw one of the other pregnant bitches. She was a black dog and so didn’t photograph very well inside the shelter. She looked possibly like a Pitbull mix and it was obvious, even in poor lighting, that she was very pregnant. There was an update on her the morning after Surrey had been sprung. The black mama dog, with her puppies wiggling in her belly, had been killed by the shelter. I closed the page. I never knew what happened to the other bitch in whelp.
Tonight, as Surrey lays in her bed underneath the Christmas tree, I am thinking about how lucky I am to have her here. I am thinking too about the black mama dog at Tipton Co, and all her unborn pups, who were thrown in the dumpster, their remains now rotting in the landfill. That girl deserved to be in a dog bed under someone’s Christmas tree too. Her puppies deserved a chance to be born and to be fawned over by squealing children. Every pet in the Tipton Co shelter, like every pet in every animal shelter in this county, deserves to live.
It is morally and ethically wrong for anyone to kill a healthy/treatable pet. There is no justification. None.
Surrey is my pet. Every animal in a shelter tonight in this country is my pet too. I love them. It’s not possible for me to have them all physically sleeping under my Christmas tree tonight but they are there in spirit. They are in my heart and in my head. Not a day or night goes by that I am not thinking about them – hoping for them. Until there is not a single pet under threat of death at the hands of a so-called shelter, I will keep advocating for no kill.
We can not change every shelter worker’s morals or ethics, but we can work to get the law on the side of pets in need. If we could get CAPA passed in every state in this country, needless shelter pet killing would not only be morally and ethically wrong – it would be legally wrong. If it seems sometimes like I’m nagging people to take political action, this is why. Because within this legal action lies my hope. It won’t erase every problem within our nation’s broken shelter system but it’s a big, fat foot in the door. Right now, they are slamming that door in our faces while they do their killing. I want to jam a foot in the door of every kill room in every shelter in every state. I want to hear our voices yelling through the crack, “You have no right – stop!”
I don’t say all this just because it’s Christmas or just because I have a pair of soft brown Beagle eyes gazing at me sleepily. I say it because this is the truth I know. Every pet in a kill shelter tonight is Surrey. And every pet in a kill shelter tonight is the black mama dog with no name. There is no difference. But there ought to be. There ought to be a law. Because killing a defenseless pet who wants nothing more than to be loved should be a crime. If we can’t appeal to the better angels of our nature to get the killing to stop, we’ll have to put the law on the side of shelter pets. Are you prepared to jam your foot in a door to end the killing?