In between the Animal Rescue community and the horrible people who should never be allowed to put their hands on any animal, there is a whole world out there. That means there are a lot of potential adopters out there, like a buried treasure trove waiting to be discovered. Or more aptly, like sleeping beauties waiting to be awakened.
In spite of a universal enthusiasm in the Animal Loving community for humane education, the spca education committee is still in need of more tangible energy and support. Like TNR and SNAP, getting their youth outreach program off the ground wouldn’t yield results today, but it would address the problem at the source.
Even when the program gets into the schools, how can the problem of humane education for adults be addressed? Its great to see the society getting good information up on it provincial website. But….. and yes there is always a but….. outside of the animal loving community and people who are already committed to pet adoption, who reads the rescue and society webpages?
When word of mouth isn’t enough, what else can be done? My father often used to say that there was no greater prude than a reformed hooker. Why not try:
- letting it be known that people with no vet references could ‘earn’ the right to be eligible to adopt by volunteering at the shelter for a few months or even a year, in the same way that the legal system promotes community service for wayward teenagers. And before the keyboards light up, this option should never be available to anyone who has harmed an animal or put a healthy or treatable animal to death ( I refuse to call it to sleep when they aren’t going to wake up) Encouraging these people to become part of the animal loving community instead of alienating them and sending them to the free online ad sites just makes sense.
- Set up a mentoring program for first time adopters with experienced pet owners in the animal loving community
- Pursuit of a private member’s bill in the house that would ban the sale of pets in pet stores, instead offering the adoption option as the Petcetera branch in Dartmouth Crossing does
- Pursuit of an separate bill to ban the sale/giveaway of pets through online ad sites. Until that is actually illegal, there are always going to be people who don’t understand the problem and could/will be taken advantage of. It should presented as a consumer protection bill for speedier passage.
- Going out to community halls and offering free workshops on responsible pet ownership. Sweet talk the hall or church ladies group into providing sweets: ))
- In their capacity as the official voice for homeless animals in NS, the society could provide the needed encouragement for newspapers in NS to install the “featured pet” module in their online editions ( to display all the adoptable animals in NS available on petfinder )
- All municipalities in NS have websites now. There is no reason that space cannot be made for a featured pet module on their sites either
- At the very least, there should be a ‘featured pet’ module on the Dept of Agriculture site , given that the society and animal rescue falls under their jurisidiction
- I know I’ve said it before, but a regular five minute slot on Live at Five each week would be an opportunity to awaken a lot of good people
There will always be people who will not, and should not, meet the screening criteria for pet adoption. They should not be able to hide among the majority of kind hearted people in this province.
Broadening the base of the animal loving community will have another advantage too. Years ago nobody would talk about spousal and/or child abuse…. it was like a dirty dark secret that was ignored. There are no ‘blind eyes’ turned anymore, making it a much safer world for women and children. When the animal loving community is part of the mainstream, how much harder will it be for anyone to put any animal in harms way?