Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Solution

I've noticed a trend in the animal welfare community, although it is present in other areas of life, as well. I experienced some of it myself, but thankfully I'm doing pretty good about growing and learning from my life lessons as they come.

A while back, the director of animal control in my hometown decided to start these meetings in the community in an effort to fight animal cruelty. There were some complicated politics involved, but regardless, the point was to come together, discuss the community issues and present workable solutions. For my part, I contributed to a new draft of the current laws regarding animal control, proposing stricter laws and a better fine/punishment system. The goal was to dissuade animal abuse and to reward responsible owners. Others worked towards fundraising, local education, and volunteering.

Of course, being that the Humane Society was also present and involved, the conversation revolved less around the anti-animal cruelty projects and more around the shelter itself. Oh, what big plans they had! How many animals could be saved if they just did this and this, and so-an-so could totally foster, and, well, what about sending more animals to rescue? Why isn't the shelter no-kill already? What if we made colorful posters or hosted a huge party adoptathon?

So many big ideas, but no one really had a game plan.

See, the Humane Society isn't out to kill all the animals. Seriously. That is so not their goal. They want to see them all healthy and happy in forever homes, just like you and me. They work hard to screen potential adopters, to hopefully weed out potentially abusive, neglectful, or otherwise irresponsible homes. They're not so much jaded as they are experienced. While fresh ideas are great, we must remember -- if it were a current, viable solution, the Humane Society would have already done it.

I could go on and on explaining things, but I think I'll leave you with a fable from good ol' Aesop, paraphrased, of course.

There once was a bunch of mice that lived in constant fear of a cat. Many of their comrades had fallen to the whiskered foe, and they were pondering what to do. One young mouse spoke up boldly, "The cat is a sneak, on that we can agree! Let us tie a bell around his neck so that we can hear him before he sneaks up on us!"

Everyone cheered. What a wonderful idea! Everyone that heard the bell would know to run to safety!

As the crowd applauded the young mouse on his brilliance, an old mouse that had been leaning quietly in a corner spoke up, "What an ingenious idea, but who, pray tell me, is going to tie the bell around the cat's neck?"

Everyone looked to the bold young mouse, who just hung his head and stared at the floor.

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