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It’s Not My Fault

It’s not my fault I have no home; I have no place to stay.
My family brought me way out here and then they drove away.
I chased the car for many blocks but it just went too fast.
I ran as hard as I could go but then gave up at last.
I sat and stared for quite some time. I could not comprehend
How they could throw me out that way when I was their best friend.
So now I know what hunger is. Now I’m just skin and bone.
But worse than that, the loneliness -- oh how I miss my home!
The people look right through me. It’s as if they all were blind.
Why is it too much to ask that just one soul be kind?
I’m tired and I want to rest but I get chased away.
I never get a minute’s peace; I’m on the run all day.
I can’t take this much longer. Something’s got to give.
Without kind words or loving touch I just don’t want to live.
What did I do to bring this fate down on my trusting head?
And why do perfect strangers curse and seem to wish me dead?
It’s not my fault I have no home; I have no place to stay.
My family brought me way out here and then they drove away.

     Each hour, every day, over 3,000 dogs and cats are born in the U.S.  Most of these are unwanted and many end up in shelters.  Five million are killed every year because there aren’t enough homes for them.

     There are many homeless animals in terrible trouble.  A lucky few are rescued by people who will love them for the rest of their lives.  Some unwanted animals end up in no-kill shelters or with rescue groups who work very hard to place them in permanent homes.   Some end up in kill shelters.  If they are deemed "unadoptable" they are killed.  If they are considered adoptable, they are kept as long as possible; but are killed when their cages are needed to make room for others in need.  The unlucky ones wander the streets subject to all kinds of cruelty and suffering.  They die in obscurity.

 How can you help?

     Never let your animal breed.  If you do, you are contributing to the overpopulation problem.  Even if you find homes for your litter, you are taking homes away from others.  If you want to see the "miracle of birth" or raise a litter of puppies or kittens, serve as a foster home for a shelter or rescue group.

     Never buy an animal from a pet shop.  When you purchase an animal, you are creating a demand.  When you buy from a pet shop another animal will only replace him and the breeding will continue.  In addition, for every animal purchased from a pet shop, an animal who might have been adopted dies in a shelter.

     Many pet shops obtain their puppies from commercial kennels known as puppy mills.  Animals who come from puppy mills are often unhealthy and they can also exhibit behavioral problems.  This is due to the terrible conditions under which they were raised.  Their lack of contact with people and their early removal from their mother often results in anti-social behaviors which surface as the puppy grows up.  By purchasing a puppy mill puppy, you are contributing to the horrors of that disgraceful industry.

     Puppy mill kennels usually consist of small wood and wire mesh cages kept outdoors.  Female dogs are bred continuously, with no rest between heat cycles.  Mothers and their litters often suffer from malnutrition, exposure and lack of adequate veterinary care.  Continuous breeding takes its toll on the females, and they are killed when their bodies give out and can no longer produce enough litters.

     Transportation is another cause of animal abuse.  The manner in which cats and dogs are shipped from breeding kennels to pet shops is frequently scandalous.  Shipment from the puppy mills can cover hundreds of miles by pick-up trucks, tractor-trailers and/or planes without adequate food, water, ventilation or shelter.  The USDA is responsible for inspecting these transport firms, but rarely does.  If you’d like to learn more about what goes into producing that pedigreed puppy, visit PETA online and search on "puppy mills" and read about their puppy mill campaign. Or Click here: Puppy mills - facts and information about mills and how to shut them down.   It’s a national disgrace and by purchasing an animal from a pet shop you are contributing to the suffering.

     Adopt from a Shelter or Rescue Group.  There is no need to buy an animal when there are so many in desperate need who are up for adoption.  You can probably get the breed, sex and age of your choice by going through your local shelter or rescue group.  There are a number of other advantages to adopting:

    • Many dogs and cats awaiting adoption at the shelter are already housebroken.  This is a big help for families who are gone during the work week for 8 or more hours a day.
    • When you adopt an older dog or cat from a shelter, you already know how big the animal is, what his temperament is, how active he is and if he has been trained.  Shelter staff will work with you to make the perfect match.
    • Most shelters provide all the necessary shots and spaying/neutering before the animal goes home with you.  This will save you time and money.
    • Shelters have puppies and kittens and many purebred animals from which to choose.
    • You will be an example to others and they may become inspired to visit a shelter.

Visit PetFinders for a listing of animals by breed or zip code.  You can even post a "wanted" ad for the specific type of animal you would like to adopt.

     Think carefully before adopting an animal.  When you adopt an animal you are making a minimum 15-year commitment.  That’s a long time.  The animal will become a part of your family for life.  The commitment does not end when you get busy on your job or when you have to move, or when you get married, or when you have a baby.  The animal will be totally dependent on you and the other members of your family for good food, clean water, a safe place to live, regular medical care, exercise and lots of love and attention.  Don’t rush out and get an animal on a whim – it will only result in a tragedy later on.

     Think carefully before surrendering an animal.  Many people take the quick and easy route and relinquish their animals when problems arise.  You have a responsibility to work through the problem to the best of your ability.  Behavioral problems can often be treated successfully through dog training.  Animal communicators can also be utilized to determine the cause of a problem and help find a solution.  For a list of animal communicators, visit AnimalTalk.    Babies and animals can peacefully co-exist.  Think twice before giving up your companion animal at the request of your boyfriend or girlfriend. Anyone who would ask you to take such a drastic step with such dire consequences may not be the best candidate for a life partner.  If you are forced to find a new home for your animal friend, be extremely careful.  There are many people with bad intentions who adopt animals only to turn them over to laboratories or dog fighting rings.  Never give an animal away free to someone you don’t know.  Legitimate adopters will be happy to pay a small fee.  Those who aren’t legitimate will not.  Be extremely careful about surrendering your animal to a pet adoption service.  Recently in New Jersey, one such service was exposed to have been a front for a laboratory supply company.   People paid $150 each for the service and the whereabouts of their animals is unknown.  The thought of their fate is chilling.  Remember, you have a responsibility to your animal.  Don’t let him down.

A WORD ABOUT KILL VS. NON-KILL SHELTERS

     Some people cannot bring themselves to visit a kill shelter knowing that many of the animals there are going to die.  Some people will not donate to kill shelters because they do not want their money used to support institutions that kill animals.  This is unfair to the animals who are in those shelters and they are the ones who suffer.

     Keep in mind that rescue groups and no-kill shelters can refuse to take in unwanted animals when their cages are filled or when presented with seemingly unadoptable animals. Kill shelters cannot.   They are required to accept all animals surrendered to them.  If they have no room for the animal, they must destroy one to make room.  The problem is not with the shelter, but with the fact that there are too many unwanted animals.  There are too many unwanted animals because of the ignorance of people.

     Many kill shelters work very hard to adopt out as many animals as possible and work closely with no-kill shelters and rescue groups in order to place some of their animals.  Still, 5 million dogs and cats are killed each year.  If people stopped breeding their animals, including their purebreds, and stopped buying from pet shops, this tragic situation would resolve itself and perhaps the dream of "No More Homeless Animals" would become a reality.

     Workers and volunteers in both kill and non-kill shelters have extremely tough jobs.  The feelings of one worker were poignantly expressed in the Autumn/Winter 1999/2000 issue of Paw Prints (Newsletter from the Center for Animal Care and Control in New York):

"Bring Me Your Tired, Your Weak, Your Hungry and yes, if need be, I will kill them."

     Sad but true, this is the way thousands of animal control workers start their day, everyday.

     I began my involvement in animal sheltering as many do, purely by accident.  I was an animal lover with pets at home, looking to give a couple of hours a week.  Well, hours turned into weeks and weeks into years and I sit here wondering how it became my responsibility to end the senseless killing of countless animals every year.

     That’s a mighty large dose of responsibility. Yet, the majority of the public believe it is someone else’s problem.  And it always will be until everyone takes a moment to step into the shelter worker’s shoes.

     We are caring individuals that have chosen to put our personal feelings in a box on the shelf everyday.  I start my day with hopes and visions of the adoptions I will do.  Struggling through cautious eyes, I reach out to as many people as possible, while never forgetting the cruelties I have seen.

     The day goes on, and I’m still feeling strong and hopeful, when I walk around the corner, and a dozen new faces in need of homes greet me.  My heart goes thud, my mouth goes dry and I take a deep breath, as I hear, ‘My landlord won’t allow pets.’  And ‘I don’t have time for him.’  I look into the eyes of the pup I’ve seen a thousand times before; and as the tears roll down my face I promise him he will never have to suffer.

     The day is done and I feel weak, so home I run in hopes of comfort and to gather the strength I need to face another day.
                         –By A Shelter Worker"

TWO GOOD PLACES TO LOOK FOR A FRIEND

     Highlighted below are two organizations in New York City that have wonderful animals for adoption.  The Center for Animal Care and Control is a kill shelter; Bobbi Cares is a rescue group.   Both desperately need your help.  You can help by adopting an animal, volunteering your time, serving as a foster home, donating money or providing much-needed items from their wish lists. PetFinder lists these as well as hundreds of other shelters nation-wide and they are all in need.   Go out of your way, do your part and help relieve animal suffering to the best of your ability.

CENTER FOR ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROL

     The Center for Animal Care and Control (CACC) never turns away animals.  It replaced the ASPCA in New York in 1995 as the city’s municipal shelter system.  The CACC operates facilities in all five boroughs and also maintains 13 vans to pick up strays throughout the city.   In 1999, more than 60,000 animals passed through the doors of CACC facilities.   For too many, it was a one-way trip despite the best efforts of staff and volunteers to find homes.  Animals will continue to be killed as long as people keep buying instead of adopting and as long as they allow their animals to breed.

     You can visit the CACC’s website to view pictures of some of the animals that are available for adoption.  Keep in mind, however, that only a small number of the animals housed in the facilities are shown.  If you don’t see the type of dog or cat you are looking for, you can call and inquire or you can visit.   Sometimes, although you have a particular breed in mind, another will capture your heart.  It’s well worth the trip.  If you still don’t find what you are looking for, you can be placed on a waiting list and will be called when the breed of animal that you want arrives at one of the CACC shelters.

     The CACC is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization that solicits tax-deductible contributions from New Yorkers and animal lovers everywhere.  Your contribution helps the CACC to:

    • Care for and find loving homes for homeless pets.
    • Provide microchip identification for all adopted animals.
    • Offer low-cost spay/neutering services for all adopted pets.
    • Rescue injured or abused animals
    • Advocate on behalf of animal welfare.

Tax deductible gifts can be sent to:

Development Department
Center for Animal Care and Control
11 Park Place, Suite 805
New York, NY 10007

     People who will not send money to institutions that kill animals, should consider making donations of needed items that will directly benefit animals in desperate need. The CACC can use:

Towels
Blankets
Animal toys
Dog collars and leashes
Puppy/kitten formula
Animal nursing bottles
Dog crates and kennel cabs
Grooming tools
Heating pads/lamps
Birdcages
Reptile supplies
Aquariums
Small refrigerators
Pentium PCs
Laser printers
Digital cameras
Cameras and film
Video cameras and tapes
Calculators

BOBBI AND THE STRAYS

     Bobbi and the Strays is a Rescue Group that finds permanent homes for dogs and cats in need.  Some are strays, some are given up by owners who no longer can keep them, some are taken from animal shelters.  All of its members are unpaid volunteers. You can visit their website to see pictures of the animals they have for adoption.

     Every Saturday, Bobbi and the Strays show a group of their dogs and cats at PETCO on Cross Bay Blvd in Howard Beach, Queens, New York.

     Because there are no shelter facilities, the most pressing need for this Rescue Group is foster homes for a weekend or longer.  Fostering an animal is a wonderful, rewarding experience.   It costs $200 a month to board an animal until it is placed and it usually takes 3-6 months before an animal is placed.  Boarding bills run in the thousands of dollars each month.  If you can’t foster an animal, please consider making a donation to help pay the boarding bills.

     Also needed are vehicles.   By donating your used car, van or truck to Bobbi and the Strays you will not only get a tax deduction, you will be helping this group continue its rescue, adoption and education programs.

     This group is also desperately in need of volunteers to help on adoption days at Petco and to transport animals to the vet.

Other items needed include:

Towels
Blankets
Leashes
Collars|
Dog coats and sweaters
Toys
Cat litter
Cat/dog food
Kennels
Carriers
Dog and cat beds

Donations can be sent to:

Bobbi and the Strays
P.O. Box 170129
Ozone Park, N.Y. 11417

     To adopt or foster a pet, you can call them at 718-845-0779

Click here to see "Happy Tails" - Lessons Learned


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