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Your Letters

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

We have so much to be thankful for this season. While the U.S. recession may be easing, the global economy spirals out of control. Locally, I feel like we have hit bottom.

With our valley’s mounting unemployment and housing issues, animal welfare agencies are breaking records in the numbers of strays and surrenders they have taken in over the last two months.

Always look locally for a pet first. I am a huge believer in inter-agency transfer within a service area. This practice spreads the work of saving lives across many organizations, helping to reduce euthanasia community-wide as well as in individual shelters.

The fear is that when outside puppies and small dogs are imported, they will get adopted, while old and ugly local dogs languish in animal control-contracted facilities and other community shelters and possibly become stressed, kennel crazed and sometimes require to be humanely euthanized.

Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves some tough questions.

What is our mission: to save all of the healthy and treatable dogs in our own community shelters or, more generally, to save as many dogs as we can? Do we have a primary obligation to the dogs in our own service area?

If we talk about creating a humane ethic and if we represent ourselves as community-based organizations that champion and protect the animals in our own jurisdiction, should we place imported dogs at the expense of the big, old, ugly, sick, injured and poorly behaved who are already under the care of our community shelters and need homes?

We ask our community to make a lifetime commitment to the felines and canines they adopt from us. We screen adopters and make them sign a contract to hammer home the importance of being responsible pet guardians. We want to feel confident that, should the dog break a leg or acquire a behavior problem or simply get old, the adopter will take care of the animal, seek our assistance and not abandon him.

Many animal welfare agencies in the Roaring Fork Valley are here to help educate. While we are overrun with dogs, cats, bunnies, rats and gerbils, we encourage families to talk to us. Please consider a foster pet for a few weeks over this holiday season. Give back in any way you can. As I said, we have so much to be thankful for.

Tracey E. Yajko

Colorado Animal Rescue

Glenwood Springs

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