By ERIN DONAR
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: July 3, 2004)
After learning that at least seven dogs would have to
be put down on Monday if they do not find a suitable home, many concerned
people have called the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter to show their support -
and maybe take home a new pet.
"So far we've had eight phone calls from really serious
people," shelter director Paula Young said yesterday. "We have appointments
tomorrow for people to come meet some of the more adoptable dogs and
hopefully more people will come in during the day."
The shelter is at full capacity, with more animals
being left at the shelter every day. Although more people have been calling,
Young said there has been no specific interest in the pitbulls that make up
a majority of the dogs living at the shelter. The breed is often thought of
as violent and agressive and therefore few chose to adopt them. While
adoptions of other breeds will open up more space in the shelter, it simply
buys the pitbulls more time.
"When people adopt other dogs, the pits get another
week or two," she said. "People are just terrified of them. It's nonsense,
but it's what people believe."
Young said pet overpopulation often stems from owners
simply not spaying or neutering their pet. All animals adopted from the
shelter are required to be sterilized within 45 days of the adoption.
Potential pet owners are interviewed and must meet
certain qualifications, such as having a fenced-in yard to prevent escape,
and not having children under the age of 3. These measures are to ensure
that people adopt who adopt animals are aware of the responsibility they are
Andrew Nepal of Yonkers said he already owns three dogs
and a cat, but that he would like to adopt more if that will keep animals
from being euthanized.
"I just can't stand to see them put to sleep. If I can
help one dog, I'd like to do it," he said.
Young said if even one dog can find a home, then her
work would have been worth it. But she added that after seeing many dogs
abused and abandoned, she hopes that people will learn to be more
compassionate about the lives of animals.
"I hope people who live in communities like Mount
Vernon will understand that animals are living, breathing beings. If you
look in a dog's eyes you'll see there's a little soul in there. But I can't
begin to tell you what we see in here," Young said, talking about how many
animals come to the shelter after being severely injured during dog fights
or at the hands of abusive humans.
"It just kills me, I don't hold down a whole lot of
hope. I just wish people would start treating their animals with compassion
and care," Young said.
PLEASE THANK BOTH AUTHORS FOR THEIR COVERAGE OF THESE
VITAL ANIMAL ISSUES, ESP ALLISON BERT; SO LITTLE OF THE MEDIA GIVES ANY
ATTENTION TO CRUELTY TO RATS, MICE AND CHICKENS, WHO ARE SENtiENT,
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
, 250 wds or less, incl name, address, phone #
for verification. ALSO: please add a phone call to the WESTCHESTER SPCA to
your contact list for the Ardsley H.S. crime (914) 941-2894. The same thing
happened two weeks ago at New Rochelle H.S.; refer them to teacher Micheal
Tedesco (w) (914) 576-4500. PLEASE DEMAND THEY INVESTIGATE THESE CASES OF
ANIMAL CRUELTY AND AFFORD THEM THE SAME SERIOUS CONSIDERATION AS FOR CRIMES
AGAINST OTHER ANIMALS.
*NOTE: One 'official' on the contact list has been
sending responses that say it's not his job, and we should contact the Dept.
of Health; this is incorrect information - the school does not have an
infestation, and this 'official' is just passing the buck. Again, thank you
so very much for taking this seriously! - Kiley
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