Most Yolo County residents live in one of its four cities and don’t think about the rural area unless it’s to visit a farm, enjoy an outdoor activity … or maybe to dump a pet.
Sadly, abandoning pets in the countryside happens more often than you’d think and the responsibility of dealing with this problem falls on the shoulders of those living outside our cities.
People abandon pets for a variety of reasons, including moving, birth of a child, landlord issues, allergies, behavioral problems, not enough time, cost, personal problems or too many pets resulting from an unaltered pet’s offspring.
Why others leave a pet in the countryside is less clear. Perhaps they worry about taking the pet to the “pound” and hope a kind person will find it. Perhaps they believe the pet can survive on its own.
Regardless of the reason, a pet abandoned on its own in an unfamiliar environment is unlikely to survive. Abandoning a pet in this way is also illegal.
Preventing pet abandonment, whether it’s in the country or city, is a challenge that animal control officials, nonprofit animal welfare and rescue groups and concerned citizens have grappled with for years. According to the American Humane Association, this problem won’t be solved until pet owners are fully committed to the care of their pet and recognize their responsibilities to socialize and train their pet as well as cost of providing food, health care and shelter.
Although there is no simple solution to pet abandonment, there are many things we can all do to mitigate the situation, including:
* Spay and neuter our pets;
* Adopt pets from legitimate shelters or nonprofit rescue groups;
* Make a lifetime commitment to the care and safety of our pets; and
* Educate family, friends and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering pets.
Happy Tails: Sammy has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Back in September, Jack Anderson found him wandering in the Yolo countryside. Sammy was about 2½ months old and covered in mud from the big thunderstorm. Jack couldn’t find his owner so he scooped the puppy up and brought him home.
Of course, this was a bit of a surprise for his wife, Edie, and their other dog Joy, who they’d adopted in the summer from Rotts of Friends. Like the clever puppy that he is, Sammy knew just what to do — look cute, be sweet and get along with Joy.
Sammy is a smart young fellow who already knows commands to “sit” and “lie down” and, of course, he comes when called. He is also learning a lot from his canine mentor Joy (featured in September’s Paws for Thought column). As a young adult dog, Joy has plenty of energy but she also knows what it means to be a well-behaved member of the Anderson household. For that reason, she makes sure Sammy knows who’s in charge and makes a point of playing with new toys first before letting Sammy have them.
When Jack rescued Sammy from abandonment in a Yolo County field, Sammy became one of the lucky few to find a loving forever home where he hangs out with his new family, goes for rides in Jack’s truck, and plays tug-of-war with Joy.
— Evelyn Dale of Davis is a volunteer and advocate for shelter animal welfare. Contact her at [email protected]. This column is published monthly.