Some folks in our community seem to be under the mistaken impression that the Animal Protection League and any other animal organization in our community is a place to get free veterinary care, free food and to bring animals they are tired of or cannot care for any longer. It has not occurred to them to assume any responsibility toward their pets.
Anderson has a cat over population problem. Sometimes it feels like people view them like squirrels, that they should be able to run loose and fend for themselves, meanwhile reproducing wildly.
According to City of Anderson ordinance cats are to not run loose. Considering the high number of cats that roam our streets and are reproducing at astonishing rates people are not aware of this ordinance or do not care.
A woman brought us six cats on Friday: a mom, three kittens and two more adults. All crawling with fleas. She said she was tired of taking care of them and that they just kept having babies. I mentioned spay/neuter and she said she didn't have the money and just wanted to start fresh. They brought them in a bin with a lid. Not your standard pet carrier that provides air. Start fresh? What does that even mean?
Some tell us that they do not believe in spay/neuter. But they are not willing to keep all the kittens that these cats produce. They bring them to rescues and shelters telling us we won't have any problem getting rid of their kittens because they are so cute. And no, they often tell us they are not getting the mom spayed. They are also not taking into account the other 100 kittens we have. They are all cute and deserve a great home. All the results of irresponsible owners.
The Animal Protection League is jammed packed with cats. Living in cages. They are everywhere. Kittens, young cats, middle aged cats and senior cats. As you walk through the cattery they track you with their eyes, reaching for anyone who gets close and crying to get attention. It is terribly sad to sit in this room and look at all of these wonderful cats, all who deserve a wonderful home. All who ended up here because someone didn't want them.
We can keep dancing around this issue, avoiding the confrontations that will ultimately come with this discussion. But, it is time for a spay/neuter ordinance in our community to help control the overpopulation of cats and dogs. The answer is simple: responsible pet ownership which includes spaying/neutering. If you cannot commit to the life of an animal, do not have the money to provide vet care, food or spaying /neutering then do not get a pet.
Having a pet is not a right it is a privilege. Pets demand time, energy, patience, attention, commitment and money — much like children. They are completely dependent on their humans to provide for their needs. If you cannot provide these basic needs then do us all a favor and do not get a pet.
Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.