Grail Springs Media

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2/24/10

The bitter truth for cats and dogs lost in rural townships...

In response to the public outrage about the shooting of eight shelter animals in Houston, Alaska by a police officer ordered to do so by the town mayor...

The general pubic for the most part does not realize that in rural communities across America and Canada, the shooting of pound cats and dogs is the norm, a practice that occurs everyday by the thousands. The bodies are often taken to the local dump.

In our case here in rural Ontario, until I stepped in back in 1993, the cats and dogs were shot, put in garbage bags and disposed of at the local garbage dump. I also discovered through investigation and interviews, that years before, the bodies were dissolved in a vat of acid, this a best kept secret for decades in our community, still unknown to mostly everyone. Horrific, I know. When asked, the local newspaper refused to expose the practice to the public because the editor felt is was too disturbing. We were as a collective able to end the practice and engage the help of a local Vet.

People must be made aware that hundreds of rural townships still contract with local farmers, where barns act as holding cells until a lost or abandoned pet's D day is up. It is the reality.

What you can do: If you live in a rural area and don't know of a shelter nearby, call your local township office and just ask the question ~ what they do with stray cats and dogs? Perhaps you will be the one to change things in your area as did we. Not only did we stop the shooting, we had the pound redesigned for the health and safety of the animals, and encouraged an active adoption program successfully reducing the number of unwanted animals being unnecessarily euthanized. It was also the catalyst behind me founding HART: The Highland Animal Relief Team which has since 1993 rescued tens of thousands of unwanted pets, created a successful fostering program, induced a successful SNIP spay and neutral program and educated the local community on pet ownership awareness.  Perhaps there is something you too can do to assist the plight of lost pets in rural areas. Oh yes - and always adopt. Never buy! xo (that's my latest animal companion, Happy Hemi we call her, all the way from rural Ohio!)

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