We are home and settled in for the holiday week, but in some ways, I feel like I’m still in Tennessee. The pull is so strong. The stories down there break my heart but they also fire up my desire to fix this situation.
It is SO fixable. It does not need to be happening. There are more than enough of us to help the women struggling to help the dogs in western Tennessee. Once more, there are more than enough homes for those dogs, too.
From Kim Kavin’s excellent, well-researched book, The Dog Merchants:
“The notion that America’s homeless dogs face an ‘overpopulation problem’ does not match up against the available statistics. Supply is not exceeding demand. Americans want about 8 million dogs a year as new pets, while only about 4 million dogs are entering shelters….If just half the Americans already getting a dog went the shelter route, then statistically speaking, every cage in US animal control facilities could be emptied. Right now.”
And Tabi and Amber and Kim and Anne and Laura wouldn’t spend their every waking moment fighting to keep animals alive.
I’m not trying to guilt those of you who chose to buy your dog, particularly if you bought that dog from a reputable breeder and/or intend to show your dog. What I am saying is that if the next time you decide you’d like another pet (especially a cat), you’d consider looking at your local shelter or rescue.
And the next time a friend of yours or just an acquaintance tells you they adopted a dog from a shelter or rescue, thank that person for choosing to save a dog.
I’ve been home for five days now and already I’ve heard of more heartbreaking stories landing in the lap of both Karin’ 4 Kritters and Red Fern. Puppies abandoned and struggling, three dogs rescued by a woman who has them kenneled on her front porch to keep neighbors from poisoning them, dogs and puppies simply dumped. I can’t keep count of how many are in desperate need of rescue, so I asked for a summary from Laura (who handles transports from the area for OPH and many other rescues across our country).
The list here of calls for help in one day is:
– 3 pups dumped at Red Fern (that may go to Greenfield pound) – the picture of the ear with ticks is one of these puppies.
– 2 choc pups dumped in the country that they put at the city pound for now
– 2 pittie teens they’re being asked to take. (Crockett and Tyke)
– 3 strays in Sharon, TN that a lady caught because the neighbors were threatening to poison them because they’ve been running loose for months.
– pittie pup in Greenfield that the owner wants to surrender because it’s getting to be “too much”
– 2 three month old pups someone is asking her to take
– a 6 month injured beagle. The owner was going to “put it on the street” so her brother went and picked it up but he thinks it has a broken rib and it’s in pain and he doesn’t have money to treat it so he wants to dump it on Tabi.
That’s just in a day. Multiply that times all the little towns and counties all over western Tennessee that rely on rescues like Red Fern and Karin’ 4 Kritters and their minimalist dog pounds. Places where there is no safety net and dogs are suffering and dying daily. Places where there is no real, reasonable, low-cost access to spay/neuter. Places where dogs (and cats) are not valued or loved, and where their local government will not spend money because it’s ‘just a dog’ or ‘just a cat.’
We seem to have ‘solved’ the problem in the northeast and many metropolitan areas, but we are far from a solution in the rural south and Midwest. We cannot forget them.
The need is so real. Something has got to change. Someone has got to let these dogs out.
Thanks for reading and for caring.
If you’d like to help, page back through these posts for contact information, but if you’d really like to help, TELL someone. Spread the word – I remain convinced, that the problem is not that people don’t care, it’s that they don’t know. Please help us tell them.