copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert
Americans like to think of themselves as humane. We set up societies to ensure the four-legged creatures will be protected and cared for. People build playpens and homes to shelter their furry friends. We coo and hold close the littlest, most dependent, beings we call doggies and kitties. Man’s best companion is the dog that sits by his side, or the cat that curls in a ball on his lap. We carry photographic images of our pals. Some store these in their cellular telephones; others post the likeness of their “pets” on a computer screen. We love the beings who return our affection unconditionally. Yet, throughout America babies are being abandoned.
The small and cuddly beings who share their lives with us have become a casualty of foreclosures. People lose their home and then their minds, hearts, and souls. One can only surmise. What occurs in America?
Reports of this crisis are beyond belief for many. In a civilized society, animal abandonment is epidemic. This seems such an enigma. It is difficult to believe that benevolent people, when in distress, might forget their principles and their pets. It is a challenge to accept that living beings are left behind, with little care or thought, as homeowners’ head for the hills. Yet, tis true. In America today, our beautiful babies are left to fend for themselves. Few survive without food, water, or the heat an occupied shelter provides.
Nationwide, our neighborhoods scorned Michael Vick for animal cruelty. Letters and calls pour in to the courts. The formerly famous athlete, now know for disrepute, was justly sentenced to prison for his abusive behaviors. Yet, individually, en masse, Americans allow their bow-wows and meow-ers to die, slowly, without the comfort of the person they once thought a companion, their best friend, care giver, and protector.
Pets becoming casualty of foreclosure
By John Simerman
December 22, 2007
BRENTWOOD — The kids at Stay & Play Pre-School take their afternoon naps among a few new friends: a pair of large turtles, rescued after months alone in a foreclosed Discovery Bay home.
Other animals weren’t so lucky. One — a pit bull puppy — died tethered to a fence in a Pittsburg backyard.
“People are losing their homes, and animals are the fallout of that,” said Cecily Tippery, a Coldwell Banker agent who specializes in foreclosed properties, and now also in rescuing pets left behind.
Here in one of the nation’s foreclosure hotbeds, Tippery and her colleagues say they have found several pets in abandoned homes — enough to spread the animal care workload among them.
At one Antioch property, they found a dachshund, a Chihuahua, a beagle and a dead turtle. A Calico cat turned up at an Oakley house. A litter of kittens remained in still another empty house.
It is another sorry aspect to a foreclosure epidemic that has hit east Contra Costa harder than anywhere in the East Bay. Although local animal control officers say there’s no evidence of a big spike in abandoned pets, stories of often starving animals left behind in foreclosed houses have begun to crop up across the country.
In Ohio, animal control agencies have scrambled to find space to take on an increase in abandoned and stray pets. In Arizona, pet lovers have launched an e-mail network to help find homes for abandoned animals, according to reports.
“I’m sure there is an increase in it,” said Michael Parker, acting senior animal services officer in Stockton, at the epicenter of the nation’s foreclosure boom . . .
People do not know how to care for themselves. Sadly, and certainly we do not teach young children the finer points of finance. Economic mastery is not required in schools or in society at-large. Few truly understand how to best secure shelter for themselves, or for loved ones. The logistics of how to best purchase a home is elusive for the vast majority of Americans. We rely on experts. Yet, for reason unknown there seem to be few experts on love, reciprocal reverence, and how to live humanely.
One would think in homes, churches, and schools we learn the importance of relationships. Humans are gregarious creatures. We give affection and wish to receive fondness. No living being genuinely wishes to be alone; nor is survival effortless without another to aid and support us, even if only emotionally. Animals of every type have a symbiotic relationship.
Yet, apparently, humans do not fully comprehend this. Little beings, who fill our lives with joy, are not as possessions. Rover, Rex, Tiger, and Tillie are not our property People must protect and provide for our pals. Those unfamiliar with our four-legged family members, by law, cannot care for our fuzzy children.
One sticking point: The pets are considered personal property and cannot be removed until 18 days after a foreclosure sale. The banks, the agents say, do not want the agents to feed them. They do it anyway.
“My first impression was, how can somebody do this to these animals,” said agent Trish Balocco. “We’re not supposed to take care of them. How can you not?”
One Contra Costa County animal control official said the law requires the banks, or whoever owns the home, to tend to the abandoned animals. Lt. Joe Decosta said he expects more forsaken pets as the wave of foreclosures and the economic fallout washes away more homeowners.
“As times get harder, there’s more cruelty. You get animals that suffer more. You’ve got people that can’t feed themselves,” he said.
Decosta said banks may misconstrue the law. Part of the problem, he said, may be the legal definition of the animals as property.
“There’s no clause for them being a living being,” he said.
“If there’s no water for them, no heat, no shelter, no food, something’s suffering.”
Misery intentionally inflicted upon the babies is not legal, not humane, and beyond belief to those of us who truly care for our fellow creatures. I wonder. Perhaps, part of the problem is we call them “pets.” We do not realize that while humans may stroke the little beings, the action is to pet; the animal is our brother. Language is only part of the paradox.
Statutes treat these breathing beings as though they are less worthy, as if they are property, possessions, objects that we can and will throw away when they have outlived their usefulness to us, the supposed owners. Yet . . .
In my life, Mitzi purrs expectantly each evening as I prepare the bed. She sits sweetly as sheets and blankets are placed neatly. When all is ready for the night, the little ballerina bounces up and moves to the center of the comforter. Mitzi looks at me, her Mom, and says, “I’m ready. I think it is time for us to sleep.”
Throughout the night, the little bundle of love and fur hums with delight. The Boy joins us, after he ensures the house is secure.
When we awake in the morning, we move in unison. I exercise on the floor. The Boy watches from above. He glances at me and chatters at the birds as they fly past the window. Mitz awaits her massage. In the meantime, she observes my activity. She knows when the cycle is complete.
Once done I feed the babies, before I prepare my own meal. Water dishes are refreshed. Food replenished. Litter is cleaned. The babies and I work together.
There is not a moment that passes when in the presence of the Boy and the Girl that they are not my priority, and I theirs. When away from them, I think of them constantly. The distress they express when they realize I might leave lets me know they worry about me. I see them even when they are not near. I am told when I am away they watch expectantly for my return.
As a friend, a parent, a person who thinks herself humane, I could not leave kitties or a bow-wow without water, a comfortable well-heated or cooled place to, no shelter, and no food for the defenseless loves . . . As I learn of man’s inhumanity to his fellow beings, my heart breaks. Please someone help me understand why humans are so inhumane.
Survival. Sources. Are Humans More Fit . . .