Editorial: Abandoned animals

Making the decision to bring a pet into your home is a big one.

Making the decision to bring a pet into your home is a big one. It should go without saying that owning an animal comes with the responsibility of providing them with everything they need: proper feeding, constant care, medical attention and a suitable environment they can thrive in – not to mention love and affection.

Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way. There is a disastrous cycle that can occur: people acquire a cat or dog, but don’t take the time or spend the money to have it spayed or neutered. That animal winds up giving birth to a litter. All of a sudden, this owner who didn’t care enough about the pet to have it spayed, is left to care for a whole litter – a task they are generally unprepared for and often too uncaring to deal with.

Many unexpected and unappreciated puppies and kittens are simply left somewhere – anywhere. Just last week, a mother cat and two kittens were abandoned outside of a business in downtown Fernie. They were left in a crate large enough for just one cat, with no water, for an undetermined amount of time before they were discovered.

Thankfully, Barkside Pets has stepped up to house the cats until they can be adopted, the Spay and Neuter Incentive Program (SNiP) has generously agreed to have them fixed and the Fernie Pets Society is working hard to find each animal a new home.

There are so many other steps the owner could have taken to care for these cats. They could have brought them to the SPCA in Cranbrook, or posted them for adoption themselves on the Fernie Pets Society website. But the sad truth is that choosing either of those options is only slightly more humane than simply dropping the animals off somewhere. Instead of completely abandoning his or her obligation as an owner, it has now been transferred to someone else.

Better yet, if the owner had gotten the mother cat spayed in the first place, the situation could have been entirely avoided. Anything would be better than making the heartless decision to leave them on the street.

In order to stop the abandonment of suddenly unwanted and unexpected animals, anyone considering purchasing or adopting a pet should ask themselves a few questions first: Do I have the time to care properly for this animal? Can I afford the costs associated with feeding, vet bills and unexpected medical costs? Do I understand why it is crucial to have this pet spayed or neutered? And most importantly, will I treat this animal with the love and respect they deserve?

I can only hope that every pet owner out there can honestly answer yes to all of the above.