Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Be a Good Neighbor


It's already October 15th, time for another Blog the Change for Animals. Where has the year gone? I had a tough time coming up with something to say. I wanted to share from my experience as an animal control officer but how do I follow My Crazy Job and I Am Not the Dreaded Dog Catcher? To top it off, today was a crappy day and I'm not really liking my job right now. I looked at my top five calls and realized that if people would just try to be better neighbors my job would be obsolete. My biggest time killers are:

  1. CATS -- Here's a big shocker: not everybody likes cats. And cats don't care if you like them or not. My job would be so much easier if people kept their cats inside (BTW, leash laws apply to cats as well as dogs in my city). Cat owners always say "My cat never leaves the yard." Truth is, cats don't give a damn about property lines. They poop, spray, wander, scratch and lay wherever they want. They stalk lizards and bird feeders regardless of whose yards they're in. Your less-than-cat-loving neighbor shouldn't have to put up with your pets. An unaltered cat will make and have kittens as often as possible, which adds to the problem. And my number one complaint with cat owners: people who move and leave their cats behind. Those people SUCK!
  2. DOGS AT LARGE -- That's legalese for "running amok." Dogs are experts at finding holes in the perimeter. They just know when a gate is unlocked, a slat is loose or a door is left open. I wish people would keep Fido from taking himself for a walk. Even worse though are the people who intentionally leave gates and doors open because the are too lazy to walk the their pets. And then there are the real jerks who feel that the leash law doesn't apply to them because 1) they pay X amount in taxes 2) my job is to [fill in the blank with something they're not doing at the moment] or 3) "they're good dogs" (yes, I hear it all). Another shocker: not everybody likes dogs either.
  3. NOISE -- Pet owners are masters of tuning out their animals' barking, squawking and howling; unfortunately, their neighbors are not. Noise complaints go up this time of year. The weather is cooling and people are leaving their windows open. At the same time dogs and pet birds (yes, I get parrot complaints) are spending more time outside. I get dragged into it because Mrs. Jones is too chicken to tell Mrs. Smith that her pets are whooping it up and it's annoying.
  4. POOP -- Seriously people, pick up after your pets! No one likes to dig cat poop out of their children's sand box or stick their hands in it while gardening. (Trust me, those are some angry calls.) Likewise, people don't like steaming piles of dog crap in their yards, on the sidewalks or between their toes while walking on the beach. They also don't like to sit on their porch while the smell of s**t is wafting from your yard.
  5. IMPOUND & BOARDING -- I spend entirely too much time housing, feeding, walking and cleaning up after other people's pets. Please invest in microchips, collars and tags. Check them periodically to make sure they are legible. If you move or change your number, update your chips and tags. Other things: 1) Buy a tag with your name and number; don't rely on the rabies tag from your vet/county. Those offices are closed on evenings, weekends and holidays. It can take days for them to return my call. 2) Microchips migrate and/or fail. Have your vet check the location and operability of microchips at your annual check-up. 3) Teach your cat to wear a collar. People tell me all the time "I'm afraid she'll hang herself." In nine years I have never seen a cat hang itself (um, they make breakaway collars). However, I have seen thousands of cats euthanized because an owner couldn't be found. And even inside cats get out sometimes.
These five items take up about 90% of my time. Just imagine what I could do if people were responsible pet owners and considerate neighbors. I could be proactive, making the city a better place for people and animals alike. Instead, I spend the day trying to make everybody get along (I fail. A lot.)

Fortunately there are people doing wonderful things for animals right now. Even better, many of them have blogged about it today. Hop around and see they have to say. There are some great posts out there and I will share my favorites with you later. Until then, be nice. -- K

P.S. Please hold the hate mail. I really do like cats.