Shelter Stories: A Mr.Frisky Blog

To Whom it May Concern

To paraphrase Johnny Cash when Rick Rubin had him cover Soundgarden's Rusty Cage: 'This is gonna piss off so many people.' But like that example, there is a productive point to it.

Right now cats and dogs are being euthanized all over the world. 

Why? Because it's legal. 

Euthanizing people, even people who ask for the right to die due to terminal illness, is illegal in most countries. No, I'm not saying we should start euthanizing people, and no, this isn't about being vegetarian nor vegan. 

I'm also not saying municipal shelters are the root of all evil. Local municipal shelters don't hate animals and enjoy killing them. Unlike Tessa Thompson Talley - poster girl for unethical, ignorant white privilege - who took such pleasure and joy in killing a defenseless 18 year old rare giraffe, as she noted by bragging about it on social media like all good socio- and psycho-paths do these days. 

But I digress. Unlike non-taxpayer funded shelters, municipal shelters do not have the luxury of closing their doors to intake just because they are out of space, out of food, out of medicine, and out of staff. By law, because they are funded with tax dollars, they must intake even when there's no more space, no more food, and no more fosters. At that point, they are then mandated to euthanize. 

Mandated by your elected officials. Elected by your Vote. 
This happens in "No Kill" cities too. Why?

Because according to those who Voted, the people would rather fund a $25 million dollar high school football stadium like Round Rock ISD did for it's high schools a few years ago. Because you can't have students playing on the football field at their high school. Fuck the animal shelter - that's no fun like football is!

You do the math on how many animals that $25 million could have saved in that municipality, how many shelters with broken AC and heat, dry wells, run down kennels with peeling floors and leaking roofs that could have been repaired or replaced; how many additional kennels it could have built.

There would have been no tragedy. The high school children could have played football on their local high school football field, and the parents could have sat in the bleachers and brought coolers with soda and chips just like we all did when we went to high school. You know, in the "olden days" when we walked to school, uphill...both ways.

Municipal shelters - or whatever government funded shelters are called where you live - are not fully funded because of 2 things:
1. How people Vote, meaning Laws/Mandates/Officials they Vote in or out, and
2. The Elected Officials who run municipalities (cities, counties, townships, etc). Remember, Councils, Judges, DAs and even Police Chiefs are elected officials, not just Mayors, Senators, Governors, etc. 

Have you reached the conclusion on your own yet? 

It's easy to blame elected officials - and there's no question they deserve 50% of the blame. But your vote - or lack thereof - is the other 50% of that equation. If your municipal shelter isn't doing a good job, do what was done here - vote out their current Board and replace them with people who will do the right things for the animals. If your Senator did not vote to support Federal level anti-cruelty laws, vote them out and vote in someone who will. And be sure and let them know why they lost your vote.

However, I am keenly aware that facing unpleasant truths is something our global society is not good at - that's apparent in many ways these days. But do you really want to look in the mirror and see the reflection of apathy?

I know it's more fun to watch the video of the farting unicorn, but you can actually badger your elected reps, start petitions, and influence others to vote out someone who's doing nothing to help animals and shelters from the comfort of your own home and your own smartphone. Except the day it's time to Vote - then you will have to go find the local polling place. And I know at least here they don't make that easy to do, but it's not like you do it every week - it's less than 5 days out of 365 and early voting helps make it easier as that last 2 weeks versus 1 hectic day. 

Yes, 1 vote DOES change it all. Because when nearly a million people say 1 vote doesn't matter (which pretty much happens every election especially in the small local elections), and don't go vote as a result, all those "1 votes" just formed a massive numerical impact in the wrong direction.
I probably pissed people off as at lot of this is unpleasant facts and not nearly as fun as that unicorn video or football, but if I've motivated even one person to go organize others to elect new officials that change how their local shelters are run and funded, or write their Council, or Vote on that ballot item for funding in the next election, it was worth it. 

Here's hoping. 

I will leave you with this thought: "All dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes to make them possible." – T.E. Lawrence - Uniting the World to Adopt, Love, Give at their local animal shelter and rescue.