“The shelter is at the back end of the equation. People need to realize these animals are not the shelter’s problem; they’re the community’s problem.”
I love this quote, which comes from Chris Protzman, interviewed by Dogland author Jacki Skole, who helped found the Blount County Animal Center. The chapter I’m currently blogging, Pet Deserts, highlights many organizations whose advocacy includes educating the public to save the lives of animals; this is why I chose to begin this blog post with that quote. To help animals, we need to reach into our community and work together.
I really liked this chapter and its place in the book; it shows how these hardworking advocates involved in animal advocacy are making a significant impact in their local communities. Previous chapters in Dogland explore various issues that plague the animal rescue community, while this chapter discusses the success of these organizations as they address some of these issues head-on. It’s a perfect follow-up to the previous chapter, If You Build it, Will They Come? because the truth is that simply building a clinic or a shelter doesn’t necessarily mean people will come.
Some of the issues discussed in this chapter are:
- dog tethering: why it’s problematic and harmful
- lack of accessible pet care in communities referred to as “pet deserts”
- educating the public on why spaying and neutering pets is important
- pet care for homeless populations
I don’t want to spoil the chapter too much for my readers, but I do want to highlight some parts of the chapter that I enjoyed. Before reading Pet Deserts, I didn’t know much about dog tethering except that it is innately cruel. But because of this chapter, I have learned not only about the wonderful organization “Coalition to Unchain Dogs,” which seeks to educate the public and offer humane options such as building a fence, free of charge to those who may need one. I also learned in this chapter about dog tethering laws and the advocacy to get such legislation passed.
Funnily enough, shortly after I read and took notes on this chapter I came across an article about activists in Hawaii who were fighting for a dog tethering regulation. Armed with my knowledge from the chapter, I engaged in the comment section and was struck by one user’s belief that the law was ridiculous:
The discussion is a good example of why organizations like the Coalition to Unchain Dogs are so necessary – there is a lot of educating to do out there!
Another point of the chapter that I enjoyed was the idea that advocates need to have both compassion for nonhuman animals AND humans. For one reason, as pointed out in the text, animal advocates need to gain the trust of their communities. For another, many issues are interconnected; one organization discussed in the chapter works with the homeless population in providing them both social services and veterinary services for their pets.
What do you think about what I’ve just wrote? Leave a comment or tweet me @ThePawReport!
- Reading Series: Dogland (Prologue)
- Reading Series: Dogland – Ready or Not… Here She Comes
- Reading Series: Dogland – South Paws in the North
- Reading Series: Dogland – Property With a Heartbeat
- Reading Series: Dogland – Death-Row Dogs
- Reading Series: Dogland – Never-Ending Flood of Need
- Reading Series: Dogland – If You Build It, Will They Come?
Dogland: A Journey to the Heart of America’s Dog Problem can be purchased directly through Ashland Creek Press.
Interested in a preview? A book excerpt is available here.