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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
As I write this, she’s curled up beside me, snoring ever so softly. On her back, she has her paws in the air, with her belly for all to see.
Another one is just on the other side of me, and she, too, is sound asleep. She’s curled in a ball, not making any sound.
The other one, the big brother, is at full attention, chasing a pesky fly. He is, after all, the protector of the house.
I have three cats, and they’re family. The fur flies sometimes, but they all share a similar pillow at night.
I’m an animal lover, no doubt about it. And, because I am an animal lover, I have debated about whether to write about the allegations that have been made about the Taylor County Animal Shelter. I can tell you I sure have thought a lot about them over the past few months.
But after watching one of those Sarah McLachlan ASCPA commercials — you know the ones I’m talking about — I feel I should address what’s happening.
Anyone who has a pet knows the kind of joy they bring into our lives. They love their owners unconditionally, and, in return, only ask for some food, shelter, toys and love.
Yes, it’s a pain to change the litter box and clean up slimy presents on my brand new carpet. It’s also a pain when the cats shed everywhere and you can never wear black. Did I mention my carpet is brand new? But this column isn’t about whether the allegations at the animal shelter are true.
That’s not for me to decide. This column is about how we, as a community, should rebound from the allegations.
I was glad to see the Taylor County SPCA group resurface. That group is full of people just like me, who consider their pets as part of the family. And they react strongly when those pets are being mistreated.
I have heard shelter employees talk about the allegations. I have heard the SPCA members talk about the allegations. Both groups care about their cause.
Let’s face it, these allegations are extremely emotional. Who doesn’t cringe at the thought of a dog being buried alive?
Our animal shelter is given a budget — this year’s is $218,720 — to care for the animals people don’t want or lose. That’s really not that much money if you think about it.
Those who are concerned about the animal shelter, I am glad. Now, do something about your concerns.
Go to the shelter and fill out an application to volunteer. Taylor County Animal Shelter Director John Harris has told me that volunteers are welcome. And I know shelter staff could use the help. Those of you who have pets should get them spayed or neutered. Simple as that.
The shelter is moving a step forward with the purchase of the PetPoint microchip software. And a new building is just on the horizon.
We’re making strides in the right direction. Now, emotions need to be set aside.
What’s really important is that our animals receive the care they need. Is arguing going to provide that? I doubt it.
Will breaking into the animal shelter and causing damage help anything? I’m willing to bet it won’t. What about dropping animals in other counties? Nope, not that either.
Taking care of stray animals is a tough job, one that most people wouldn’t want.
I go to the animal shelter once a week to take a photo of an animal up for adoption.
I’ll be honest, sometimes the shelter smells bad. But what shelter doesn’t?
And sometimes the cages aren’t clean. Can a cage stay clean all the time?
I believe this whole situation boils down to this: people have lots of opinions, but not many are willing to step forward and help.
I encourage the SPCA to continue to fight for the stray animals in this community. And I encourage the public to take ownership of the shelter. After all, it is run by tax dollars.
Don’t give up on our animal shelter. Instead, become a part of it.