I went into Wegmans this morning to buy extra cat food, as I am constantly running out mid-week due to the amount of cats I am placing down each morning. Minus the fat free Saltines I bought, I spent another $60 on two 16 pound bags of dry food, a box of 24-cans of Friskies wet, and 24 large cans of BuJu wet food. This will get me through the next few days, with a few cans of wet food left. This feeding business costs me a fortune, as you can see. Because Saturday, I will be spending another $100 to make it through maybe four days of food for the homeless cats. I really need a financial break soon.
Anyway, as I was at the checkout, the girl that was checking me out said boy thats a lot of cat food and I said 'well I feed homeless cats in the inner city every day" and she mumbled something like 'how sweet' and said how she had cats begging for food at her house but she shoos them away 'cause she is afraid of them." I wanted to ring her neck. I've heard this before from a few people, and its just total ignorance. She told me a cat scratched her once and she doesn't like them ever since. I told her she shouldn't be judging them all on one instance. I held my tongue to a certain degree because I am sort of a regular there on my way to work and I didn't want to make things awkward the next time I see her. But I am sure she will remember me after that.
Here is another thing I wanted to share - this is an article written by columnist Nestor Ramos that was in this past weekend's newspaper - its dead on. I wish it could be read by everyone, including all authorities, because to me, it makes so much sense. Something must be done someday, and soon.
My father’s dogs were all pit bulls.
They were sweet dogs, though some were better behaved than others. They weren’t fighting dogs, and if their purpose was to protect his very modest one-bedroom apartment, they were extreme overkill.
No, they were companions. He fed them ice cream from his spoon and they sat with him on the couch. I loved going over to visit, and taking the dogs for walks. They were great with kids — patient and affectionate.
So I know that breeding and rearing play a big part in whether a pit bull is a menace or a friend. I don’t think pit bulls are inherently nasty or vicious or mean-spirited.
The real problem isn’t the dogs — it’s the people who see them as status symbols; who abuse them and train them to fight; who breed them irresponsibly and fail to socialize them. In some sense, the dogs are victims, too.
But I still think something needs to change. It’s hard to look at the pictures of Jayden Forrester, the little girl mauled last week by a pit bull, and come to any other conclusion.
I’m not in favor of the all-out ban that many cities around the country have enacted. I’ve known too many pit bulls that were sweet, well-behaved pets to advocate ripping them out of good homes and euthanizing them.
Instead, I’m going Bob Barker on you: I’m proposing a spaying and neutering requirement.
According to a 2009 study, about 92 percent of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs; and 94 percent of those dogs were not neutered.
Now, most dog attacks aren’t fatal, though I have to believe that statistic is telling. And I know that any dog can snap. That little girl could have been attacked by a labradoodle. But it wouldn’t have done as much damage. If dogs are weapons, some are peashooters and others are bazookas. And it’s pretty hard to get your hands on a loaded bazooka.
As the statistic above evidences, neutering a dog goes a long way toward disarming the bazooka. It would also cripple the dogfighting industry, which relies on backyard breeding processes that are, at best, dubious. Police could simply confiscate any unneutered male. Then it’s off to Lollypop Farm, where they’ll be put up — fixed — for adoption.
Would a neutering requirement be hard to enforce? Maybe, though it’s usually pretty easy to tell whether a dog has been neutered (identifying whether a female has been spayed would be much harder, of course). And limiting the rule to pit bulls probably isn’t possible, either.
Responsible owners already have their dogs fixed anyway — Lollypop Farm actually requires it before adopting out any dogs or cats, for example. Any exceptions to that rule, such as for licensed breeders or show dogs, could be addressed in clear, limited exemptions.
Is it perfect? Of course not. Enforcement would be laughably selective — police wouldn’t be scouring the neighborhoods around Highland Park for Bichon Frise testicles. But so what? These aren’t people, and breed profiling isn’t the same as racial profiling. Cops can stop-and-frisk Noodles with impunity.
Instead of eradicating a breed with so many wonderful qualities, a neutering order of some kind potentially takes the weapons out of the wrong hands. It would punish irresponsible owners by fining them and taking their dogs away.
And maybe it would keep the next little girl out of the hospital.