(Pasadena Human Society and SPCA)---A few weeks ago while dropping my son off at his elementary school, I found a black and white cat dodging cars in the parking lot. He was friendly and would run up to all of the kids waiting in the school line. No collar, no tags, just wanting to be scratched and loved. I wondered how he got there, but he couldn’t tell me the story of his life. All I knew was that he was hungry and lost. He was friendly enough to pick up. I decided to put him in the car and take him to the shelter where he had a chance to find his family.
A few days later, a very large Great Dane broke out of her yard in Pasadena. She roamed around the block looking for her people. The neighbors were afraid to go near her because of her size, but the animal control officer was able to rescue her using a slip leash and some food. The dog had no tag or microchip, but, luckily, the officer found a neighbor who knew where the dog lived and she was able to get her back to the people who were worried about her.
That same week, I watched as the kennels at the Pasadena Humane Society filled with stray pets. I also noticed my Facebook feed was filled with friends posting about animals—an abandoned tiny kitten, a missing dog, the stray dog getting struck by a car. My friends also shared flyers of lost animals in the San Gabriel valley and reports of found animals that needed to be rescued.
While we have made great strides in helping homeless animals over the years, we still have a lot to do when it comes to educating the community about responsible pet ownership. Keeping animals safety confined and making sure your pet always has current identification, ID tags and a microchip, are two basic things any pet owner can do.
With a scorching summer already upon us, I can’t help but notice the increase in lost, homeless and stray pets who have escaped their homes to get out of the blazing sun. Some will be rescued like the ones above, but others will not survive. Yes, it’s my job as the President of the Humane Society to worry about this. But, I promise you that I am not the only one. I join thousands of people in Southern California who care about the welfare of the pets in the community. The thousands of people who believe that treating animals well promotes humanity and a healthy society. The thousands that believe we have a responsibility towards all living things since they cannot care for themselves. The thousands that agree with Mahatma Gandhi when he said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
In 2016, over 12,000 animals entered the Pasadena Humane Society. There are over 250 at the shelter right now. I challenge each of you to join together to help us continue to make our community the greatest place for pets in the country.
- Be responsible! Get your pet spayed or neutered. Take them for their annual vaccinations. Provide them with fresh food and water. For the month of July, any cat over the age of 1 year can be spayed or neutered for only $20.
- Always keep your pets safe. It’s best to keep them indoors. When outdoors, make sure they have a clean, shady place to get away from the heat. Always provide access to fresh/cool water.
- Never leave your pet in a hot car. The temperatures can rise to over 100 very quickly, which can be lethal.
- Do not let your pet run loose. Fix your fences to ensure there is no way to escape your hard. Follow the law by always having your dog on leash when outdoors in public areas.
- Always make sure your pet is wearing current, up-to-date ID tag. If they become lost, visit the shelter every day to try to find them.
- Keep your animals at home during holidays such as 4thof July. Pets are afraid of fireworks and prefer to be kept indoors away from the hustle and bustle of parties.
- Don’t look the other way when you see a lost pet in the community. Try to find their home, bring them to the shelter, post on social media networks or call for help.
Another Gandhi quote reads, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. Join the community in becoming that change for animals in our community.