The Chicken and the Egg

There was a misty half moon tonight to admire while the dogs were scouting the yard for signs of visitors. With the woods at our back door and three ponds out front, there is never any shortage of interesting scents for their noses to follow.
The yard has changed a lot since I first moved out here. When I bought the land, the previous owner had opened up the old pond at the front of the property, hoping to drain the bottom piece and perhaps improve its value.
The lower pond is fed by two natural springs and a small creek, so I thought it was pretty unrealistic to think that it could be drained at all. Instead, I had another pond dug in the swampiest area and had the lower pond closed back in. The result is a pretty area that has naturalized into a little wildlife habitat spot.
Over the years I have planted trees and shrubs, dug gardens, sculpted a little ornamental pond and I am still working on the hardscaping. It took a lot of work, a fair bit of cash and a whole lot of patience.
I’m retired now, but I wouldn’t have had the resources to do any of that if I hadn’t worked for as many years as I did. It takes more than energy and enthusiasm to get anything done.
Is it the same thing for the society to have the sheltering contract for animal control in HRM? By their own admission in the financial report for last year Metro does have a financial dependence on the contract.
Is it a conflict of interest? There is no immediate viable alternative for sheltering for HRM. One only has to look at the sudden enthusiasm our politicians on every level are developing for fiscal restraint to realize the odds are pretty slim that HRM is about to invest in its own Animal Sheltering facility. Given all that, it shouldn’t create a conflict when the society needs to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Metro isn’t the only group that doesn’t like the idea of owner surrenders. None of the No Kill groups like it for sure, and those who will accept owner surrender charge a surrender fee.
In Metro’s case there is a ‘chicken or the egg’ aspect to the question. Would there be as many strays if Metro took owner surrenders? Would the sheltering contract be smaller if there were less strays?
Or to take another tack – could they help the strays without the contract or would that put them in the same boat as the cape breton branch?
There are no black and white answers to pull out of a hat with this. I am fifty four, not fourteen and do not expect a handful of people to undo years of harm in a month or two. One doesn’t need a crystal ball to see that the new BOD likely spends a fair bit of time walking up the down escalator.
One of my favourite Nathan Winograd quotes is ” No Kill begins with a decision by shelter leadership. But it cannot succeed without community support. How do you get the community involved? Do a good job, tell people about it, and ask for their help.”
We have seen some really promising starts down that road – better use of petfinder, more publicity, more user friendly hours. Its not everything that is needed, but its a great start. There’s another chicken and egg bit – the more adoptions , the more animals they can save. The more animals they save, the more adoptions and support there will be.
Is it fair to describe the animal loving community as being ‘very passionate”? You bet. We are passionate for the animals and will step up to the plate for a ‘good job’ And that is the last chicken and egg bit for tonight – does the society have the ability to ‘speak up’ without our support or do they need to ‘speak up’ to be supported?

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