CALIFORNIA -- I'm posting this article, not because I like it, but because I want to point out some issues I have with it - and the way rescues and shelters are more frequently making previous owners the bad guys.
When Fred was 13 years old, his family moved to Canada — and they decided Fred wouldn’t be coming with them. But instead of finding their cat a new home, the family made an unsavory decision.
“This family took him to the vet to be put to sleep instead of finding a solution for him,” Piper Wood, founder of Hand in Paw, an animal rescue group in Los Angeles, told The Dodo. “Of course, the compassionate staff at the animal hospital called me and asked me for help, because they felt so bad for Fred.”
“I just saw his face and my heart melted, and I was like, ‘Can I keep him?’” Shaw told The Dodo. “And Piper was like, ‘Yeah.’ I think she already knew I was going to be a sucker for this cat.’”
The rescue makes it sound like this family couldn't be bothered with taking their 13-year-old cat with them to Canada. What's the real story, though? Clearly, they cared about their pet. After all, they'd owned him for (we're guessing) 13 years. Maybe they were moving to Canada to care for an ill relative and pets couldn't be around them? Maybe they were moving for a job and the only housing they could get didn't allow pets? Maybe their child has cancer and they're going there for treatment? We don't know.
They didn't take him in the backyard and shoot him -- which, I believe in nearly all American states, is legal (as long as it's done 'humanely' meaning they dispatched the animal quickly). Yes, they did take him to their veterinarian to have him humanely euthanized. That is not a crime nor does it indicate that you're a bad person or shouldn't be allowed to own pets. In fact, I'm always preaching on this blog that people who have vicious dogs that attack people and attack and kill pets and livestock should do the responsible thing and have their pet put down.
They didn't dump their pet on the street and abandon him. They didn't put an ad on Craigslist selling him to the highest bidder. They didn't give him to someone who promised him a good home only to flip him on Craigslist a couple days later. Maybe they tried to find him a good home with someone they trusted and couldn't find anyone? Maybe they were just clueless about rescues until advised by the veterinarian. Don't laugh! There are truly clueless people living among us - there was a lady in my town who lost her dog. She printed up like 50 flyers and was posting them all over but never thought to go to the shelter. Her dog was there - and had been there so long he was on the adoption floor! You'd think that that would've been the first place she looked, but no.
And what's not said by the rescue is that the owners signed over ownership to the veterinarian rather than euthanize him. Animals are property and a vet cannot tell you they're going to put your pet down and then keep it alive and send it to a rescue (or sell it or keep it themselves).
I imagine the vet, when hearing their reason for wanting to euthanize their beloved pet, spoke with them about other options. Once the vet spoke with them, they signed over ownership of their pet to the vet.
They did not abandon their pet. They are not cruel people. Rescues and shelter needs to stop vilifying people who are unable to keep their pets until the pet passes away of old age. Life happens. Yes, in a perfect world people would get that puppy or kitten and love it and keep it for the nearly 20 years until it passes away peacefully. But that is not possible for most people. People join the military or are sent overseas to work. They develop allergies to their pets. They have a baby and don't trust their pet around the baby. They suffer medical issues that prevent them from properly caring for pets. Maybe this cat required medication that they could no longer afford? We don't know.
I'm not talking about people who let their animals get emaciated or bald from untreated mange and then dump them at the shelter. I'm talking about people who clearly cared for their pet properly but for whatever reason surrendered it.
It seems that many people in the rescue world today are very high and mighty and judgmental about others. Unfortunately, this attitude also carries over to vicious dogs, where rescues demand the dog not be euthanized - that it be handed over to one of them so they ship it off to another state with a new name and a sad story to encourage someone to take it home to their family.
In the comments section, Kim Toner seems to be the only one in the numerous comments who seems to understand what I'm talking about.
SOME OF THE COMMENTS POSTED
Kim Toner · Fraser High School
While you may not agree with the previous choice to euthanize the cat, at least they didn't drop him off at the shelter, or worse, abandon him to the streets. They were taking responsibility and not making their cat someone else's problem. It is incredibly difficult to find homes for old pets. This story is so sweet because it defies the reality of a common problem. It proves your luck can change for the better because of the kindness of a stranger.
Like · Reply · 1 · May 6, 2017 9:24am
Kylie Gilchrist · North West Regional College
So just kill him because he is a problem...? 🤔
Like · Reply · May 6, 2017 5:56pm
You're definitely right, Kim. However, this cat needed a much better new owner than he got.
Like · Reply · May 8, 2017 4:29am
Kate Baxter · University of Victoria
frankly anyone who with kill a cat for convenience should not be allowed into canada. we don't need people like that
Like · Reply · 4 · May 6, 2017 2:43pm · Edited
Kim Toner · Fraser High School
I hope that the veterinary clinic had the owners permission to place the cat in a new home and did not charge them for euthanasia and disposal. Legally, the vet must follow the owners instructions. I would be furious if I found out otherwise, like reading about it on the internet.
Like · Reply · May 9, 2017 12:32am
What a beautiful story!!! Shame on you previous bad owners!! Welcome and bless your heart new pet parent to Fred!! I love you Shaw! You are wonderful and I can see how Fred made your heart bigger. He is such a special handsome boy
Like · Reply · May 9, 2017 3:49am
Cathie Penalagan · Works at Self-Employed
Could we have met his previous loser owners at the border and turned them back? The cat would be most welcome though.
Like · Reply · May 9, 2017 4:02pm
The Dodo - May 5, 2017)