A local woman was passing by her Apartment’s dumpster when she noticed an odd looking box. It was fairly old and taped. However, she did not pay much attention to it until the next day when she was going to dump her trash and saw it move. Out of curiosity, she decided to check out what was inside, and to her surprise there were three cats. They all looked so terrified and were not making any sound – No meowing or anything. To provide a home for them she decided to take them to the Washington County Animal shelter. There she met director Tammy Davis and her staff who immediately took the cats and began examining them. Fortunately, though the cats were not making any sounds. they were in good health.
According to Davis, this may not have been the case had the woman not found them soon enough. This is because they had been sealed in the box for about 10 hours and the box did not have any breathing holes. Speculations have it that the cats may have been dumped by their owner who got tired of taking care of them, especially during the prevalent covid-19 pandemic. Davis suspects that this is not a lone case, as there are owners who may have dumped their cats in a similar manner.
“As any animal rescue person, I automatically, if I”m driving down the road and I see a box, my mind immediately goes to, ‘Oh my gosh, someone has dumped puppies or kittens on the side of the road,” she says. Therefore, she urges people not to ignore any card boxes they may come across as animals may be hidden away in them. Though the shelter is currently limiting its donations, it will still accept ‘emergency donations’ and also offer resources to people who may be struggling to take care of their pets. Hence, Davis implores owners not to dump their animals.
Instead, if they feel they no longer want to care for them, they can always take them somewhere, let someone help, or try finding a new home for the animals. There are many shelters within Washington and the surrounding counties that would be more than willing to give such animals a home. Abandoning them by the roadside or in the manner the three cats were found is plain cruel.
After confirming they are of good health and are physically fit, Davis now says they are ready to be adopted. The three cats comprise of a two year old mother and two seven month old kittens who the shelter has named them Fender, Bender and Azlan. Davis describes them as very loving as they enjoy socializing with human beings. If interested in any of the three cats you can send an online application to Washington county/ Johnson City Animal Shelter. Adoptions shall then be conducted via an in person appointment.
Why do People Really Abandon their Pets?
True to Davis’ words, there are many cases of animals cruelly abandoned, especially cats and they continue to multiply the feral and stray cats population. According to Pet Secure, people may abandon their pets due to reasons such as;
- Inconvenience of the animals to their owner’s lifestyles.
- They become too expensive to maintain
- Relocation to neighborhoods that do not accept pets
- Lost interest in the pet
- Pets becoming old
How to Prevent People from Abandoning their Pets
Considering that animals have needs and feel pain just as we do, It is totally cruel to abandon them. If one is tired with their pet, they can always give them away to other people who may need them or take them to shelters. Incase you see anyone mishandling or mistreating their pets, the humane society is only a call away. Once a case is reported, they help investigate if the claims are true and seize the animals if need be. Whatever the measures taken, at the end of the day, the humane society ensures the abused animal live in a safe environment. Alternatively, you can also report to the city police or county sheriff.
In a softer approach, the following measures can be used to prevent people from abandon their pets.
- Education- Out of ignorance, some people think since pets are still animals they will find a way to survive if abandoned outside. However this couldn’t be further from the truth as animals who are used to being cared for by humans may find it hard to cope or even survive. Educating the community on such matters helps.
- Putting up signs and posters- These are signs that remind people that abandoning pets is cruel and illegal. Such signs can be effective especially at colony sites.
- Installation of Spy Cameras- These can be put up in areas where pet abandonment is common. If the idea of cameras sounds expensive, you can consider putting up dummy cameras or signs that claim the area is under 24 – hour surveillance.
- Provide Information on Local Shelters or rescue groups- Some people abandon their pets, not because they are cruel, but rather out of desperation or ignorance. In this case it is wise to avail a list of local shelters and rescue groups where they can take animals they no longer want to keep.
Consequences of Abandoning or Neglecting Your Pet
According to NOLO, the law protects all pets and it is considered illegal to treat any animal cruelly. This includes abandoning or neglecting it. Not providing your pet with food, shelter and water is defined as neglect. You may also be mandated to provide it with vetenary care, exercise, suitable sanitary consitions and protection from harsh weather. In Washington, not doing the above can lead to being charged with misdemeanor. That is, if you acted intentionally, or with criminal negligence and the pet ended up suffering unnecessary and unjustified pain as a result. Abandonment is too punishable by law. However, most people who abandon animals tend to get with this since they do not leave any form of identification on the animal.