I'm Right Again Dot Com
A new commentary every Wednesday - Oct 29, 2014
The Problem with Pets in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona and Elsewhere
I want to dedicate this commentary to my sweet, 6-year old great grandson, Benjamin Watts, of Louisville, Kentucky. Ben has autism. He and his family learned this week that Ben is getting a very specially-trained service dog, in 2016. It has been established that service dogs are highly beneficial in helping autistic children develop.
I don't know how it is with the homeless pet situation in your community, but here in Tucson, where the population in Pima County has grown exponentially since the Pima County Animal Care Center (PACC) was built in 1961—from 180,000 to more than a million inhabitants today—the situation regarding animal care has not just failed to keep pace with the population, but has long since reached critical proportions. Despite community donations of volunteer time (29,610 hours in 2013) and $261,770 in cash gifts, 24,332 animals were taken in by PACC in 2013. Last year, there were 7,670 adoptions, 1,699 animals were returned to pet owners and 4,383 pets went to rescue groups. There were also 8,766 spay and neuter surgeries.
Kennels designed for one or two dogs now hold up to four. The buildings were not designed to reduce noise, so the noise from barking can be deafening. PACC is struggling to find adequate space to care for sick animals apart from healthy ones. Cats need spaces to hide and elevated areas to perch upon to reduce their stress levels.
There's not enough natural lighting and medical facilities are beyond being just inadequate.
Originally built as a pound, animals were euthanized if not claimed or adopted in a few days. The thrust now is to bring as many as possible to good health and seek to find homes for every adoptable animal brought to its doors. This goal is well on it's way to success at what someone termed "The Largest Adoption Agency in Southern Arizona." To bring this plan to full fruition, there needs to be a complete renewal of the Animal Care Center, here. This also must be the case in many other communities. It may be worthwhile to survey the situation in your locality.
The present goal is achievable here in Tucson if enough voters in Pima County vote "yes" on Proposition 415 by the close of balloting, November 4. Even if you've already voted, there are ways you can bring a simple gift, such as a short walk for some lonely pooch or kitty. It will enrich both their life and yours. Pima County Animal Care Center is at 4000 N. Silverbell Road and their telephone is 520-243-5900.
-Phil Richardson, Curmudgeon, Observer and Storyteller. (We've two endearing "rescue dogs").
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