06/30/02 Against Companion Animals Abandonment
Campaign against companion animals abandonment during holiday season
I AM NOBODY'S TOY!
Abandoning cats and dogs is a nasty virus that takes epidemic proportions throughout the world at the time of summer holidays. Hundreds of thousands of cats and dogs who were - up until that moment - like members of the family, lose their home. The majority of them ends up run over by cars, abused or beaten to death or "put to sleep" in the dog pounds. The percentage of abandoned companion animals who are lucky enough to find a new home is almost insignificant.
In order to stop that plague and to transform the face of cruelty to the face of compassion and understanding, we have to become aware of the fact that animals are not toys, that getting a pet is a step that requires responsibility equal to that of starting a family, because animals are beings with feelings and emotions, just like us, and once we take them into our home, they will see us as parental figures and friends, forming a special bond with us, one that lasts for a lifetime.
Getting a companion animal is a decision that all members of the family should agree on, as taking care of the animal is a responsibility that should be shared amongst all of them. It is extremely irresponsible of parents to buy an animal as a gift to their child and then to expect the child to take sole care of that animal. Although a child can be a great friend to its companion animal, it simply is not ready to take the full responsibility of taking care of another being. Also, it is cruel to tell the child the animal is being thrown out because it wasn't taking care of it. Throwing an animal out on the street is, in most cases, equal to killing it and thus a crime that simply cannot be justified.
THE SEASIDE FOR THE FAMILY, THE STREET FOR THE DOG?
Animal Friends in collaboration with the City Department of Agriculture has organized a campaign to bring into the public eye the problem of abandonment of companion animals before going away on holiday. The campaign was initiated because of growing problems caused by companion animals guardians who abandon their animals before going away on holiday.
With messages like "Friends till holidays do us part" and "The seaside for the family, the street for the dog?!," Animal Friends makes an appeal to dog guardians, asking them to respect their animals enough not to throw them out on the street like a used up toy.
Every year during the summer holiday season, the streets are full of abandoned animals, who wander around hungry and thirsty, often ending their pitiful lives under the wheels of a car or in a dog pound, where death awaits them after the 30 day period of waiting for the owner to claim the animal has run out. And their only crime is the fact that their owners went on holiday.
As part of the campaign, a billboard will be set up with a message that invites dog guardians to consider alternative options that include dog hotels, companion animal-sitters, leaving animals with friends or family, or finding them another permanent home.
To help people with the problem of not being able to take their companion animals with them, we have given them the possibility of placing an add on our web site so they could try to find a companion animal-sitter or a permanent new home for their pet. There is also a "lost & found" section. Placing an add is free.
We have also printed a flyer that is being passed around the city of Zagreb, where there are more abandoned companion animals than in any other part of the country. The citizens are being encouraged to place their adds by phone, e-mail or directly on our web site, where they can find more information about both the campaign and the Animal Friends.
Design: Tomislav Smolcic - Tally
Photo: Kruno Pekas