Animal abandonment leads to a life of misery and possibly a painful, lonely, death.
As an animal lover and activist, I am appalled at the rate at which pets are abandoned and lost thanks to irresponsible owners. Everyday, shelters and animal NGOs are struggling with the increasing rate of abandonment, and the sad part is, most of these animals are left to die a slow painful lonely death unless they are lucky enough to be rescued.
Tying an animal to a bench and leaving it for dead is murder! As pets, animals give us constant love, affection, and loyalty and we repay this is how we repay them? If they are fortunate enough to be rescued, will they ever learn to trust again? Pet abandonment is happening every day. It is happening on our doorsteps and our shelters, and it leads to many animals dying a slow painful death, waiting for their owners to come back.
Dumping a pet is the worst case of abandonment. The animals are left confused and even injured. At first, they do not know what is happening to them and it is likely they think they have done something wrong, for which they are being punished. Some people tie dogs to trees, benches, even bins, railway lines, and so on. An easy way people find to dump their pet is to slow down and push them out of a moving car! Not only could this be injurious to the pet, but the animal might wander back into the road in an attempt to follow the vehicle, resulting in motor accidents.
When people move houses, their new house may not accept pets so many leave them behind. Soon any food or water left with them will be consumed and the animals will starve to death or die of dehydration. A dog with dehydration will have low blood pressure; its major organs will shut down and, in a few hours, it will die of organ failure. Animals are also dumped―in forests, woods, in cardboard boxes, stuffed into bags, and in shelters.
Most re-homed animals go on to love their new owners all the same but they may always be confused about why their first owner left them. Sadly, not all abandoned animals are fit for adoption. After being starved and left to die, an animal―dogs in particular―may become food aggressive. This means that they will attack anything that gets close to their food because they fear it will be taken from them.
Why would an owner abandon their pet? An owner may have bought a new pet and found that it was aggressive or maybe it even harmed a family member or friend. Some people may feel they are at fault and take their pet to a shelter hoping that they will not act that way in another household. Also, pets may become unexpectedly pregnant. When asked why they abandoned their animals to a shelter, many people replied that they had become allergic to animals or that they were moving to a new house where pets are not allowed or there is not enough room. Common animal behaviour problems in cats and dogs include house soiling, fear-based behaviour, aggression, disruptive behaviour, compulsive behaviour, and separation anxiety. All of these can be hard for an owner to cope with, especially in more than one pet
However, all of this boils down to one aspect of pet ownership, responsibility. When you buy or receive, or scoop up a stray animal, you are taking on the responsibility of caring for that animal for its lifetime. This means that you have to be prepared for their long term care which includes feeding, providing water, spaying and neutering dogs and cats to prevent unnecessary breeding, and footing vet bills. You are responsible for learning training basics which include house training. If you don’t have money to hire a trainer, ask a friend who has a pet or just “google” it. YouTube has so many videos to help you.
There are many organisations that are able to help people find new homes for their animals so there is no excuse to abandon pets. However, most rescue organizations in India are primarily in existence to help stray animals and do rescue work. They already have enough animals that need homes so you put a big burden on NGO’s when you dump a pet. Think very carefully before you go out and buy a pet. Are you really going to have enough time to look after your pet? Are you willing to commit time every day to walking your dog? Do you have enough money for vet bills if they come around? If not, do not risk your animal’s happiness.
This begs the question, why make them suffer when they bring us so much joy? When they are always there for us? Why should they pay for our ignorance? We have the choice, so we should not get an animal if we cannot afford it. And we should not discard them like a toy if we get bored! By thinking practically when it comes to getting a pet, we can help stop the atrocious madness that is animal abandonment.
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About the author
Bhavani Sundaram is and animal lover and activist from Himachal Pradesh in India.