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posted by Delia Quigley Mar 3, 2010

A major side effect of America’s economic downturn is that when people don’t have money, they cannot afford to feed their animals, much less themselves. This seems to leave them no recourse but to drop said pets at a local rescue shelter or worst still just to abandon them, often times to die of dehydration and starvation, in the very houses they just foreclosed on. This presents a challenge to the shelters because they now have to feed and care for these frightened animals on budgets that were not meant to handle the overwhelming numbers of healthy, tame, house-trained pets. How it is oftentimes handled, regrettably, is with a quiet death by euthanasia.

My brother has a good friend who lives on a small patch of land in rural Missouri. Not much happens out there except when he comes upon a dog whose owner has driven his pet out into the countryside and left it along the side of the road to find its way. One time there was a beautiful Rottwieler chained to a fence, no doubt so it wouldn’t run after the car accelerating away from him. It wasn’t until after I adopted Seamus and Maya, my two rescue dogs, that I learned their previous owners, a young couple with two small children, filed bankruptcy, lost their home and had to move to a no-pets-allowed apartment.

What does it say about our culture that we can abandon household pets with such disregard and inconsideration? Oops, did I mean animals, or how we treat each other? If we can so easily abandon our spouse, children, friends and family, then it stands to reason the human species has lost a bit too much compassionate DNA.

Why are there no financial subsidies for the abandoned animals and children of this country rather than the fat cats on Wall Street?

And why are we not, as a country, joining together to see that those who cannot fend for themselves are taken care of, like any healthy society should?

Scientific research has consistently informed us that television violence, movie violence, video game violence, and music violence contributes to desensitizing us to, drum roll, violence. Too busy watching all that violence we did not see how we have been altered by our actions.

Abandoning one’s pet to an uncertain fate along the side of the road or to be euthanized because it is more convenient is, make no mistake, a form of cruel and unjust violence.

This violence includes, but is not limited to, the unethical treatment of animals for food, the senseless slaughter of wild horses, wolves, and animals for fur, and the extinction of one animal species after another due to a lack of compassion and a willingness to think only about our own needs and comforts.

Now what can we do about it?

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