Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Save a valuable life

Word cloud from letters published between Feb. 11 and 22 in the Lake County Record-Bee
From letters and columns published between Feb. 11 and 22 in the Lake County Record-Bee, I chose a single word that I thought summarized the writer’s concern.

The “word cloud” I created via Wordle.net showed concern about feral cats second only to debating the U.S. Constitution during that 11-day span. Words were given a larger size relevant to the greater frequency that they appeared among input text.

I was glad to see that so many readers share my concern for Lake County’s high rate of euthanizing cats. This is a distinction to be ashamed of: highest rate in the state.

I think Lake County’s adoption fee amnesty program and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) will go a long way toward addressing the rate at which cats are killed.

The adoption fee amnesty will be conducted up to four times a year, for one week at a time, according to a memo from Lake County Animal Care and Control Director Bill Davidson. The Lake County Board of Supervisors approved this department policy addition on Feb. 21.

I hope that with the adoption fee waived, people who would not otherwise afford to adopt an animal will consider giving one a home. Cats and dogs can bring so much enrichment to a person’s home.

With this writing, I have been encouraged by the proximity of my family’s sweet cat Starfire. Her presence makes an enormous difference toward our apartment truly feeling like “home.”

Lake County Animal Care and Control supplies me with photos each week of one of its cats and dogs who are available for adoption; these are publicized on Facebook and in Saturday’s print edition of the Record-Bee. Other animals in the agency’s custody can be viewed on its website.

Lake County veterinarians are sponsoring the “Cat-Snip” TNR program for feral cats. I am glad to see a program like this finally come to Lake County.

The purpose of this free program is to responsibly spay or neuter cats who do not belong to a caregiver. As explained by program coordinator Victoria Chamberlain in her letter to the editor, published online Feb. 9 by the Record-Bee, “Cat-Snip cats need to come to a vet in a trap. They will be spayed, neutered, given a rabies shot and the right ear is tipped to identify as to the fact that they are altered and have a rabies shot.”
Feral colonies have their origins when cats are discarded by humans. Ultimately this attitude needs to be erased; the dumping needs to stop.

Cats are not throwaway merchandise. They are living beings. If you are not willing to accept a commitment that lasts for the lifetime of an animal, you have no business adopting a cat or dog.

Published March 13, 2012 in the Lake County Record-Bee

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