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Dawn's Column A Case For Animals
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I can tell you I've seen first hand the unfortunate fate of animals that have been abandoned or dumped by their owners. We've all heard about it on TV and read about it in the papers in relation to the high home foreclosure rate.

Recently, three cats showed up at my parent's barn in the country in the course of just a few days. One of the cats is a sweet, orange tabby that is a neutered male and clearly was someone's housecat. He was so hungry and so glad to have human contact when my mom first discovered him. Right about the same time, another tabby cat showed up to eat at the barn and sits quietly nearby but runs away if anyone goes near it. A day or two later, a big black and white kitten showed up and devoured the cat food in the dish for the barn cats as if it hadn't eaten in days. The poor little thing also continuously meows like it is lost and scared.

My parents already have quite a few barn cats that they have taken in due to other people dumping cats in the country and they don't need more. Now they have to try to find homes for these new cats because of other peoples' lack of responsibility and inhumane actions.

My significant other lives in an established neighborhood with large lots, greenbelts, and parks. The stray cat problem there is also out of control. People who lived in neighborhood homes that were foreclosed just turned their pets loose, packed up and left without them. Other people dump their unwanted cats and kittens there because they think they can survive on their own. A couple of weeks ago, two incredibly skinny dogs with collars but no i.d. tags were frantically wandering through the neighborhood looking for someone they recognized. They were obviously abandoned. Unfortunately, it was on a Sunday and animal control was closed and couldn't pick up the dogs.

The result of all the stray cats in his neighborhood: feral cat behaviors, such as doing their business on lawns like dogs and not covering it. Tomcats frequently spray the bushes and the cover on the barbecue in the back yard. There are numerous cat fights, and of course, unwanted new kittens. Many neighbors have cat traps and have made frequent trips to the pound. Some of those neighbors have even trapped the cats and had them spayed or neutered.

I am appalled by the number of reports of animals that are family pets that are dumped in the country or park-like areas, or helplessly abandoned in closed up houses or garages that have been vacated due to foreclosures. For those of you who do this sort of thing, you should be ashamed of yourselves! Domestic pets have a difficult time surviving without a caring home.

I'm also disgusted by the stories I hear about pets that are brought to the local shelter who've been with their human families for years and are left there because the family is moving and don't want to bother to find a good home for their animal or find a place where they could keep a pet. These poor pets don't understand why they're being left behind. They've become members of the family, but they're disposable. It's reprehensible.