By Edgar Lopez
My street seems to be the evilest of places or the most tragic.
Every month or so, a new dog is seen running around my place. The dog didn’t just break out of the pen and run for the greener grass. No, my street is notorious for having owners abandon their four-legged friends. They leave them right in front of a barbed-wire brick wall, in front of my house.
It’s sickening to see a person abandon a helpless animal in a foreign place. The irresponsible person doesn’t realize that a domestic pet has probably never spent the night on the streets. These house-trained pets have little experience hunting or scavenging for food. Most domestic pets don’t eat anything but kibble and table scraps, aside from a few dead birds they hunt down.
Most people don’t fully comprehend the responsibility of adopting a pet into their family. The majority of families think of getting a pet and the adults want to put the responsibility on a child. Although children could help feed, groom and play with the pet, they shouldn’t be solely responsible for a living creature that breathes, eats, exercises and requires attention.
People should also realize that those sparkling puppy eyes and that sweet puppy breath isn’t going to last forever. Nonetheless, it is important to understand that puppies grow up and for most, the excitement dies. Pretty soon everyone who wanted to take care of the puppy at first, ignores the aging canine.
Cats are another problem. Cats are difficult to control as they roam through the neighborhood and can easily escape the property. Because they’re so hard to control, cats can get pregnant and have kittens rather quickly. A cat litter usually consist of two to five kittens and a cat can have near five litters per year.
With all those kittens popping out, many people dump a whole litter on the street. Usually, these kittens get run over, attacked by other animals, die of starvation or get tortured by people.
A year ago, my sister found a black kitten, not even a month old. The kitten had burned fur, a stabbed eye and a ripped ear. She took it to the shelter and they put it to sleep. Most of the time, when an animal gets taken to the shelter, they put them to sleep after a week or two.
With so many incoming strays, shelters are sometimes forced to deny newcomers. At Beagles and Buddies, a shelter in El Monte, where I used to volunteer, strays were seen walking around the shelter and the workers were aware of them, but they couldn’t do anything about the issue. There are simply too many uncared for domesticated animals on the streets.
Another tragedy is when families abandon pets because they cannot afford to pay for an operation or medicine. Halfway through last December, a pomeranian stumbled around, bumping into things and falling off the sidewalk. The dog, badly in need of a haircut, was near blind. Fortunately, he was adopted one day after he was found by a friend of mine.
My sisters, who had taken in the pomeranian, took two other strays along with the pomeranian and kept them in our front yard. One of the other dogs, a small-mix breed named Taco by the neighborhood children, lost its twin to a driver who didn’t bother to attempt to stop. The other dog, a female pitbull who went unnamed, was pregnant. Taco and the pitbull were put to sleep.
Those are just a few examples of some of the pets that had been condemned to street life. These former pets had to beg outside houses and find shelter while it was raining. There are still many others, such as a cocker spaniel named Bella and my family’s current rabbit resident Mr. Three, who was found by my brother after Easter Sunday.
People need to start thinking about the future responsibilities of caring for a pet. Parents also need to see pets not only as a teaching tool for their child but also as a companion and a part of the family. They should also realize that when a pet gets sick, they should take their pet to a veterinarian rather than dumping it on the streets.