I'm sure that just about every animal lover's jaw in the whole of the Halifax Regional Municipality's jaw dropped to the floor as they were eating their toast and crumpets that morning. Ugh! This is 2006 - not 1956! Normally I'd have headed straight to the computer to write my patented letters to the editor - but I'm a dog person and I really try to stick to my one subject - I think that's why I have such a high percentage of letters that get published - so I didn't write in - but I hoped someone else WOULD. And lo-and-behold - someone at the very top of the animal rescue food chain (philosophically speaking) did! Lisa Murphy - who is the President of the Nova Scotia SPCA wrote a super perfect letter - and here it is:
Bravo on a SUPER Job!
'Free to good home' not responsible
By LISA J. MURPHY
A really cute kid shilling "free" kittens in a wagon. Great photo-op,
yes (Aug. 31)? The Nova Scotia SPCA says no.
The phrase "Free to good home" (FTGH) sounds like fingernails on a
chalkboard to animal welfare workers. "Free" is too often seen as
"worthless" in the eye of the beholder.
Though many people have good intentions when they advertise a cat or
dog as FTGH, this is how some people will see that "freebie":
FREE bait to train fighting dogs;
FREE snake food;
FREE to live in a cage and produce litters and litters of kittens to
sell for profit;
FREE money from the research lab (yes, this still happens in Canada);
FREE torture victim;
FREE animal No.135 that the "collector" can't afford to care for.
Don't kid yourselves: This happens daily right in our own province.
The little boy in the photo cannot be expected to think of these scary
things, but shame on Mom or Dad for sending him out to "get rid of"
these kittens to anybody who wants one. What does that teach him about
responsible pet ownership? What does that show him about the value of
living creatures in this world?
There is a lesson in commitment to be taught here, about the
commitment of caring for an animal whose life depends completely on
us. It takes effort, patience and persistence to find the right homes
for unwanted animals, and they have no one but us to look out for
their best interests.
In 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote (in the The Little Prince),
"You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." FTGH is
not responsible. Failing to prevent unwanted litters by neglecting to
alter your pet is not responsible.
We can only hope that the mother cat is now spayed. If she isn't,
please give us a call before the wagon is full again.
Lisa J. Murphy is president, Nova Scotia SPCA.
I'm happy to say that I know her a little bit! haha!