You know that Serenity Prayer? Oh, you know the one, it
goes like this: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the
difference." It's known as the "alcoholic's prayer," but many attribute it
to St. Francis of Assisi, a monk and philosopher from the early twelve
hundreds whom the Catholics often refer to as the Patron Saint of Animals.
I bring it up now because it is certainly one of my favorite prayers. I
mean, as animal-rights activists, we need to accept certain things and
accept that those things may never be changed, at least in our lifetime.
We need courage to continue to write those letters, attend those demos and
work those phone trees even when we know that our triumphs are few and far
between. And last, we need the wisdom to know which battles to fight and
which ones to let slide for the time being.
This battles' time is here and now.
After four hurricanes devastated parts of Florida last
year, the state is taking a fresh new look at some things we have learned
to do differently. Tragically, because some people were forced to evacuate
their homes, they had to turn their companion animals in to the county
shelter where they were promptly euthanized. These were beloved, family
members who had good homes and loving families. Their families were faced
with a devastating decision. Forced to leave their homes, they brought
their animals in for a certain death to avoid a possible death. Over
eighty animals were killed in one day, the day before the hurricane,
despite pleas from county animal control officials for folks to keep their
animals at home or find another solution.
So now, the director at Palm Beach County Animal Care and
Control is begging the county commission to find a solution. Looking to
other Florida counties, they decided to follow the lead of many of them
and ask the School Board if they can designate at least one school as a
pet-friendly shelter. The School Board is being stubborn and unreasonable
and refusing to even consider this request. School board member Deborah
Robinson is quoted as saying that animals are "nowhere near my priority
list." It never fails to intrigue me how people who say they want to help
people in times of need won't look a little beyond the box and see that by
helping their animals, they are helping people too! The other counties
that Palm Beach County have approached for advice and sharing of
information all state that the pet-friendly shelters were left CLEANER
than were the shelters that did not accept pets. Fewer arguments broke out
among shelter-dwellers and the pets were well behaved, confined in crates,
and cared for by their families. People were not in such a hurry to return
to hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods, risking injury, because they had their
animals with them safe and sound.
Why the school board is so adamantly opposed to even
discussing the possibility is a mystery, but maybe a few letters from
Animal Writes readers would give them the impetus to open their hearts and
minds just a little and stop being so adamant about something so
While Debra Robinson (whose picture appears with the
others on this site) was quoted in the paper, all the members seem to be
in sync with this position.
The board accepts e-mail at
Please help us get this shelter for the animals so people
don't have to kill their animals again this year.
Go on to Message From
Return to 12 June 2005 Issue
Return to Newsletters
** Fair Use Notice**
This document may contain copyrighted material, use of which has not been
specifically authorized by the copyright owners. I believe that this
not-for-profit, educational use on the Web constitutes a fair use of the
copyrighted material (as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright
Law). If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright