Editorial: Responsible owners wanted

Dec. 29, 2012 @ 05:42 PM

Vance County’s animal problems have no end in sight.

That’s an unfortunate conclusion to a recent probe of just what is happening at the county animal shelter. The shelter is under the guide of the county government, but people come from near and far to drop off animals.

Many times, it is a literal dropping off with no regard to what happens next to the life left behind. Letters to this newspaper have confirmed as much.

The Dispatch talked with a number of people involved with the shelter, county leaders and a local rescue organization. What we found was a resilient group of animal lovers who rescue lives daily, a shelter that needs attention in several areas, and a networking organization providing valuable travel arrangements to states with better laws and pet-friendly environments than North Carolina.

Until the spaying and neutering of pets is handled responsibly by owners, or in the less preferred method of expanded governance, there is no reason to believe the situation will change. Pets will continue to overpopulate our area and the shelter will continue to struggle with the abundance of animals and limit of staff.

The animals are the losers. We as humans are the enablers and should be ashamed and embarrassed.

The number of animals who face death row in a county of just more than 40,000 people is staggering. It ranks with the largest of our state’s metropolitan areas.

Thus, it is not surprising the number of lives saved through a rescue organization literally going 24/7 numbers in the thousands annually.

The adoption process can be a wonderful experience. Discounts for having the animal spayed and neutered through the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program of North Carolina can be gained. Adoption fees are already remarkably low.

More than anything, we stress that owning a pet is a responsibility. It is far more than food, water, exercise and cleaning up. No one should be attempting to own a pet without knowing all that is involved. The resources are numerous.

The owner has a commitment to a precious life, and the lives of other animals with which it interacts.

We fully endorse pet adoptions, and we demand better responsibility from owners.