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Dogs for the taking

Posted Thursday, April 10, 2008, at 2:49 PM

Imagine being a dog. You're hot, under the blazing sun on the hot pavement of a parking lot. And your owner's trying to give you away or sell you.

It takes place every day in mall, shopping center and Wal-Mart parking lots throughout the area -- around the entire country, probably -- and, among other things, serves as a prime example of why spaying and neutering is necessary.

I realize most of those giving away those dogs -- as well as cats, rabbits, ducks and other small animals -- are well-meaning decent people.

But I wonder if maybe a city or county license should be required to sell/hand over animals in a public place, just as yard sale permits are required. Some locations, one shopping center in Murfreesboro I'm thinking of in particular, resemble unorganized pet stores during warm months.

It also enters my mind that maybe some of these animals don't end up in the best of homes. Hopefully all those giving away or selling animals publicly are trying to size up takers, at least to some extent.

Many of these animals probably end up being the ones roaming the streets, being picked up by taxpayer-supported animal control personnel, kept at our expense and setting off public discussion about how to handle strays. And I guess many of those "adopted" from shelters end up on the streets as well.

I'm not singling out anyone in particular. Most of those giveaway dogs are obviously well cared for by loving people. But sometimes I see some that don't look to be in such good shape -- and it's those animals, and owners, who need to be checked out.


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We see a lot of these dogs end up at SBCHA shelter. I know that Michael Gregory at BCAC too. I know that we are pushing for legal measures to stop this.

-- Posted by cherylrichardson on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 3:10 PM

Not just small pets...Look at the situation the horse industry is in as well. A friend in East Tn and another in Virginia tell us that horses are being loosed in large uninhabited area such as state parks and on private land. Horse are so cheap to sell and so expensive to feed right now. Hay is scarce and what is decent to feed to horses is so expensive. Shelled corn is almost double the price it was last year.

Yet there are colts being born all the time. We have a couple of colts we are keeping for someone who can't care for them right now. I have a mare who is due in a few weeks, but I will do what I must to make sure she and the colt are cared for. We had her bred before the drought began. If I had known what was to come, I doubt I would have had her bred.

I know I see some horses that look like they aren't being cared for. I don't judge too quickly though, because we used to have an old guy (26) who was sooo skinny. He just couldn't get any weight on even though we fed him senior horse feed, all the hay and grass he wanted and had him vetted. We ended up giving him to an older man who wanted something to attend to. He finally found that he could get weight on him feeding him beet pulp. "Moses" gave it up 4 years and hundreds of rides to the guy's toddler grandchildren later.

Anyways, that was a ramble...I just see taking care of pets as much as a responsibility of taking care of children you are entrusted to. It's a shame more people don't see it that way.

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 3:45 PM

Not just small pets...Look at the situation the horse industry is in as well. A friend in East Tn and another in Virginia tell us that horses are being loosed in large uninhabited area such as state parks and on private land. Horse are so cheap to sell and so expensive to feed right now. Hay is scarce and what is decent to feed to horses is so expensive. Shelled corn is almost double the price it was last year.

Yet there are colts being born all the time. We have a couple of colts we are keeping for someone who can't care for them right now. I have a mare who is due in a few weeks, but I will do what I must to make sure she and the colt are cared for. We had her bred before the drought began. If I had known what was to come, I doubt I would have had her bred.

I know I see some horses that look like they aren't being cared for. I don't judge too quickly though, because we used to have an old guy (26) who was sooo skinny. He just couldn't get any weight on even though we fed him senior horse feed, all the hay and grass he wanted and had him vetted. We ended up giving him to an older man who wanted something to attend to. He finally found that he could get weight on him feeding him beet pulp. "Moses" gave it up 4 years and hundreds of rides to the guy's toddler grandchildren later.

Anyways, that was a ramble...I just see taking care of pets as much as a responsibility of taking care of children you are entrusted to. It's a shame more people don't see it that way.

-- Posted by Jacks4me on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 3:47 PM

I agree with everything you say in that something needs to be done about all of the innocent stray dogs and also all of the inhumane puppy mills and irresponsible breeders in this area and all over the country.

On the flip side, there are, while perhaps few and far between, people like me, responsible breeders, who take extreme caution with puppies and who those puppies are sold to. Responsible breeders aim to enhance breed standards and try for the best quality dog possible. My puppies were taken care of (and still are with their new owners) like babies. I would never dream of selling them to strangers at Wal-Mart.

With that said, I am extremely grateful for the humane society for all they do to help animals.

-- Posted by sfowler on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 3:48 PM

In regards to the horses, it is true many horses are dumped off and left to fend for themselves, often in the middle of deserts. It is a very sad thing and the whole anit-slaughter bill a couple of years ago dealt with this. Many people were strongly against slaughtering horses, however by the same token, so many horses are left alone to die a long slow painful death. I would rather them be slaughtered than have to live through that kind of suffering. You can't win either way when people act irresponsible and buy or take in animals they can't afford or don't know how to take care of.

-- Posted by sfowler on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 3:55 PM

I had a Wal-Mart puppy one time, she was the best little dog I ever had

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 4:49 PM

I don't intend to cause an argument... but why continue to breed when we have hundreds and thousands of stray homeless animals out there!?

-- Posted by starcat124 on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 5:20 PM

"I just see taking care of pets as much as a responsibility of taking care of children you are entrusted to. It's a shame more people don't see it that way."

I've been wondering for years why more people don't feel that way. I guess it might be because a lot of people think of their dogs as property rather than as a part of the family.

-- Posted by cfrich on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 6:13 PM

I have a Wal-Mart puppy now and she's the sweetest little dog. My husband had a Wal-Mart dog when we met and she was a great dog too. I don't agree with it but I also feel like I as well as my husband gave both of them a good home.

-- Posted by Disgusted on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 6:35 PM

Speaking of spaying and neutering...does anyone know of a good place that spays for cheaper than $125 for a 9lb female?

I remember cfrich saying something at the Gardening Club meeting two weeks ago.

We need to spay our adopted "Misty" before the 28th and are on a very tight budget.

I am willing to travel to any of the surrounding counties.

-- Posted by Mary on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 7:54 PM

Mary - it's the Beesley spay and neuter clinic in Murfreesboro - here's a link:

http://www.beesleyhumane.org/

We took Miss Josephine there and they were really nice. If I got another pet, which won't be for a long time, I would go there again.

-- Posted by cfrich on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 8:15 PM

Breeders should have to be licensed,regulated and monitored with limits placed on the production of offspring.

It should be made clear that these animals are not "commodities" but living,thinking, and feeling creatures.

Euthanasia should be a last resort used to prevent an animal's suffering or being a danger to others.

It was never intended as a way of dealing with "surplus" animals,those who have cosmetic "flaws" or those that have never been taught how to conduct themselves.

The neutering of "pet quality" animals should be the default setting with all animals being raised with the assumption that they will live in a home environment.

(Breeding stock and working animals will be retired sometime.)

Even human children have been subject to careless breeding and scant thought to whether they will have responsible and loving homes.

We need training in how to take on a life that would be dependent on us and have the right facilities for it before we bring that being into our lives.

When most cats and dogs are neutered by six months and none breed before age two or after age six,the price of neutering should go down even as people's ability to pay for vet care goes up.

Fewer animals being born means more money for responsible breeders and healthier,happier animal companions.

In the meantime,we should have a regular time and place for "adoption fairs" with screenings and proceeds going to support animal welfare programs such as neutering and vaccination clinics, indigent care for pets,shelters,foster homes,etc.

Trainers,groomers,vets,insurers,etc. could make themselves known at vendors' tables.

We're going to need to make a lot of changes about how we think of our animals but these upgrades should cause all of our beasts to be cherished as family members instead of disposable playthings.

It's better that we come to think of our critter companions as our bretheren than think of our kith and kin as another kind of animal we can exploit.

"As ye have done unto the least of these,even so have ye done unto me."

If we raise the bar on how we treat "inconsequential" beings,how can we not improve how we are treated ourselves?

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 10:52 PM

I take all my animals to Doc West here in Wartrace...He is great!!!!!! He is very fair with his prices too...389-0449

-- Posted by rebelrose on Fri, Apr 11, 2008, at 9:20 AM

Alright, I will check out both of these places to compare cost! Thanks ya'll!

-- Posted by Mary on Fri, Apr 11, 2008, at 11:28 AM


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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.