Travel to any part of the developing world and you’ll see what a stray population of cats and dogs looks like. It’s the stuff that tales are made of. Those dogs have been through the hard knocks of life and have learned the hard way when to cross streets, what neighborhoods to hit at certain times of the day for food and what dogs and shop owners to stay clear of.
Sit on a busy tourist street sipping on a coffee and you’re sure to see a pack of dogs travelling together searching for their next meal. They’re infested with fleas, disease and many are lame from being kicked around or hit by a vehicle.
Instinctively they’ll cautiously approach you. They’ve figured out the majority of folks who sit in certain areas of the city, usually the restaurant or café district, are a lot nicer to them. That’s because where they come from, dogs do not wander the streets. They’re not used to seeing mutts with their ribs showing, limping along looking for a morsel.
Unlike the citizens who shoo them away, or even worse, kick them, afraid of contracting an illness, these visitors take pity on them. They’ll throw them a piece of bread, a salami slice from the sandwich they’ve ordered, and they’ve made a friend for the rest of their stay.
Talk to the locals about the number of stray dogs and cats wandering their city and they shrug their shoulders.
“We have bigger problems. Children are going without,” they tell you. And they’re right.
The reason we can count ourselves among the developed world is because, among the most important reasons, we have social safety nets for our residents, agencies such as animal shelters to look after our strays, and laws prohibiting cruelty to animals and people.
Parry Sound has already lost its shelter. If Huntsville loses its animal shelter, and there isn’t room in Bracebridge to take in the wounded stray cat and dog population, our streets may very well start looking like some of the poorer places we speak of.
If that occurs, there is absolutely no question that the municipality, and by extension council, will see itself obligated to address the service void, the possibility of disease, cruelty to animals and the blight that injured stray cats and dogs could become.
Unfortunately, it is only then that a cohesive plan may be put together soliciting the expertise necessary to ensure a shelter is managed in a fiscally feasible way that runs on more than passion alone.