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Monday, November 5, 2012

Animal Control - "What Can I Do To Help?"

My 3 year old black cat, Kit Cat, went missing about a week ago.  She came in from the woods at about 4 weeks of age, and often disappears for 3 or 4 days (she's tiny but quite a hunter), but never this long.  At our neighborhood Halloween party someone mentioned that our new neighbor  traps cats, so I should check the pound.  They had found theirs at Animal Control twice this year.  WHAT?!?!?!

On top of that, one of our dog club members had just posted notice that her 18 month old Belgian Malanois had disappeared on Halloween morning.  I was now doubly concerned.

So a few days later began a new and horrifying adventure for me. . . . . . . . . . . a visit to the pound.  I tried the lazy way first, calling, but ran into their voice messaging system that kept me going in circles.  When I finally got a person, they said I had to come over and look.  Okay, I live on the opposite side of town so that took me a whole afternoon.  I didn't find my kitty or the dog, but learned they only have to hold animals for 3 days before euthanizing them.  Shit!  AND, to get Kit Cat out of there would have cost me up to $130!

While there, I asked for a tour of the area, and the volunteer seemed generous, almost zealous, to show me every nook and cranny of the facility, inside and out.  In retrospect, I interpret her efforts as a cry to an outsider for help.  I've never seen so many dogs, each held in 4' x 4' chain link cages, on concrete floors, with fluorescent lighting, with just a cot to lay on, no toys or blankets of course, no bones to chew on, fresh poop here and there.  The constant barking was deafening, my eyes were watering from the urine, and the stench was overpowering.  Of course there were plain dogs and pretty dogs, lots of labs and pit bulls, some pure but mostly mixed breeds, some friendly and pleading to be petted, a few aggressive dogs snarling as we walked by, a few mamma dogs nursing puppies.  All of them were basically alive and hopeful, but miserable.

There were several volunteers on site, 3 LSU students preparing to walk some dogs on leashes.  There were two fenced yards where hopefully all the dogs are allowed out in the sunshine for several hours a day.  My guide told me the center had instantly lost all their cats a few months back to a disease that ran rampant through the whole facility!  Was this another cry for help? It seemed so, for who on staff would dare admit to such a failure of a government run, taxpayer supported facility?  It was not good PR.

On the way out the lobby was crowded and the phone was ringing, but nobody at the desk to answer it.
 
Louis, one of the happier healthier looking dogs.
While I took no pictures, I can't get the picture of the place out of my mind.  I visited Animal Control's website when I got home and recognized several of the dogs I had just seen.  One, a male Black Mouthed Cur named Louis Armstrong, caught my eye as he looks so much like Lucky and was so friendly and looked so healthy.  The volunteer asked me to consider fostering him and others, that they are woefully overcrowded and new dogs coming in every day, and all are in peril.  I was tempted, but woefully unprepared. My thoughts -- how can I bring strange dogs into my home?  I'd need to convince my husband first. What if they are sick? I don't want my dogs getting sick.  Plus, do I have the time or energy to manage my dogs going crazy with every intruder?  Plus, I would go crazy not being able to give them each the full attention they need--like a bath, affection, grooming, training and playtime.  What would I do with them when I leave town for the weekend? What if I never could find them a permanent home?  Would I be stuck with 6 dogs (my 5 plus 1), then 7, then 10??????  For 20 more years????  I can't do that.

But my God, something needs to be done for all these poor suffering creatures.  What if one of my dogs got stuck in there?  There surely has to be a better way.  It would be criminal for Louis Armstrong to be euthanized for lack of finding a forever home.  My prayers are with him constantly as I find myself stewing in a big pot of "What Can I Do To Help" juices.

A few days later, after learning this shelter can euthanize after 3 days, and after talking it over with my husband, we decided we could try out the foster route with Louis.  Alas, his photo was no longer on their website.  I've called the pound repeatedly since then, and all I get is their voIce messaging system, and leave a message, but they have never called me back.  I am just sick with worry over Louis's fate.

Upwards and onward,

1 comment:

Claire Hotard said...

One of CAA's biggest needs is volunteers who are willing to answer the phones. As you discovered, calling CAA often doesn't work out. Think of how many potential adopters and volunteers might be reaching out, but go elsewhere because they couldn't get answer! The management puts limits on where volunteers can go in the back and what they can do.