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Animal Guardianship

People should be tested for responsibility to have an animal companion.

TAGS: WHERNTO: erudite  operate 

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About 3 times a year I send money to different dog and cat rescue groups to pull dogs and cats from high kill shelters, especially those who are still gassing former pets to death. It's pretty awful to see these once beloved animals turned over to shelters for such frivolous excuses as: "we just had a baby and don't have time to care for our cat", or "we are now working longer hours and it is a shame to crate our poor dog all day long". The list of reasons for dumping pets is endless.

When you look into the eyes of these used up pets it's obvious they are in great distress. Many cats are hiding in corners while dogs are cowering in corners. Others are jumping up and barking at every human that passes by their prison cell begging for attention and to be set free. These dogs and cats did nothing to deserve such blatant disrespect and lack of care from their previous owners. I use the word owner because that is all these animals were to most; simply property to be disposed of when no longer needed or wanted.

Many of these pets were obtained for birthday presents, Christmas gifts or just bought on a whim. I think it's time that before anyone is allowed to take an animal into their home they should have to take a test and have a background check. Now I realize this seems unreasonable since shelters are over-flowing all year round and millions of healthy animals are killed every day, but too many animals are being abused and neglected due to irresponsible people adopting them. Many shelters are too eager to give these animals to people to make room for more strays, and throwaways.

I was recently at one of our own shelters and I noticed a beautiful female dog named Ella. I asked why she keeps getting returned. The volunteer I was talking with said this dog was so traumatized that they would be very particular to who she would go to the next time. Seems each time she was adopted out, she was brought back because those she went home with didn't realize how much work and responsibility a dog was.

Why were they even allowed to adopt her in the first place? Animals are not inanimate objects devoid of feeling to be bounced around from home to home, often times ending up killed.

So I suggest people adopting any animal be made to take a written test and if they have animals provide vet records and references as well having an interview. This should not be difficult. I myself would be more than willing to submit to a test and bring records as well as references.

It's just too easy to get a pet on a whim and dump that pet when tired of the responsibility. The same would go for pet stores (although it should be illegal for pet stores to sell animals) and we would finally see more guardians and less owners.

Animals in our homes should be considered family members and a life time comittment, given the love and care they deserve.