Editorial: Don’t be a deadbeat animal owner

How many cats get left behind when somebody moves?

Whoever it was that abandoned the box of chickens on a Cowichan Lake resident’s driveway recently certainly isn’t the first to cast away an unwanted animal in such despicable fashion.

We’d love it if they would be the last.

They certainly proved themselves unworthy of owning animals. Owning animals requires a lot of responsibility — you take on a duty of care. That duty of care isn’t something that can just be cast aside when someone gets bored of the work, or encounters an unexpected problem.

These are things that should be considered before someone goes out and buys a pet, or, like in this case, a farm animal. How many pigs get abandoned because someone doesn’t do adequate research on just how big their new buddy is going to get? How many chickens get turfed out a car door to become someone else’s problem because the shiny new owner got roosters, or just didn’t want to care for them anymore?

How many cats get left behind when somebody moves? How many dogs are taken for a drive out into the country and left behind the screeching tires of their former, horrible, owners?

You see, the thing is, while these are animals, that doesn’t mean they have any skills to survive in the wild suddenly. Your dog or cat is used to having food delivered to it daily, by you. They’re used to a nice, warm house. In some cases they’ve never even been outdoors at all.

Abandoning a domesticated animal in the wild is most likely a death sentence. Just a really, really cowardly one, delivered by you.

And it’s really not that much different for fowl used to eating grain and scraps from a bowl, water provided.

Sometimes survival instincts can lead to amazing stories, but more often than not, your former pet won’t last more than a few days or weeks, if they’re lucky.

First, if you’re not ready to take on all of responsibilities an animal can bring, don’t get one. Second, if for some reason something comes up and you can no longer care for an animal, there are far better, kinder ways to deal with the situation. Animal rescue societies abound that will take in and shelter your pet, and hopefully find it a new home. Even farm animals like chickens or pigs. Third, if you’re looking to get a pet, check out our local animal rescue organizations first. Be a hero to an animal, not a deadbeat owner.

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