The Los Angeles Times article above describes the heartbreak of a family whose pet went missing. The article then attacks a rescue group who saved the lost pet from a local shelter where it would have been killed. A couple of days later, CBS2 News aired the story, perpetuatimg the vilification of rescue organizations.
I have been a street rescuer most of my life. I am personally offended that everyone avoids blaming the pet owner for not tagging the animal.
Below are excerpts from my letter to the Times.
Thank you for calling attention to lost pets and the anguish experienced by their owners. However, the dog in question had no identification – no collar, no tag, no tattoo, no chip. That is the fault of an irresponsible owner.
I have rescued strays for over 50 years. Less than a half dozen animals had collars. Non-profit groups offer extremely low-cost/no cost chipping. Everyone can afford to ID their pets to help ensure recovery if they escape or are stolen. The old-fashioned collar and tag are better than nothing.
As for the dog being in a shelter across the valley from where the people live, no one has considered how far/fast an animal can go. When pets are scared or disoriented, they move like the wind and are out of their normal area in no time at all.
Consider the emotional trauma rescuers feel. We imagine the pet we are desperately trying to return to its home is our own. We love animals – that’s why we do U-turns in traffic, get out of our cars in driving rain and risk our lives to save an animal. Consider the tears we shed when we have no other choice but to place an animal in a shelter… knowing it will be killed if the owner is not found or no one adopts it. We NEVER forget those little faces.
Every rescuer wants the perfect ending for a pet – being reunited with its family. The likelihood of that happening is very slim.
Bottom line: If people love their pets and don’t want their children crying, do the right thing – get a permanent ID.