Thursday, November 27, 2008

Pass The Dog Food Bowl

The wonderful little town where I live, Pine Lake, Ga., nestled in the shadow of Stone Mountain, just off Memorial Drive, seems to have a recurring dog problem. Of course, everybody loves dogs. Me included. I have owned a couple of dozen dogs during my lifetime. I even owned two at a time once when I lived on a farm that provided them with 160 acres in which to run. However, most of the houses in Pine Lake are on lots increasingly not much bigger than the buildings themselves. Our current dog problem concerns strays and what to do about them. I do not know how we get so many strays. Some people think they are dumped in Pine Lake. Maybe the dumpers have gotten tickets from the Pine Lake police taking the easy pickings on Rockbridge Rd. Maybe they just think Pine Lake is full of suckers.

Here’s my plan. Pine Lake should expand its Police Department to include a special Animal Control Unit. We can staff this 24x7 for about $250,000. Then we could convert the Club House into a facility which we can call the Pine Lake Humane Society. The Club House is only used on voting days and for public meetings and the occasional birthday party. We could probably keep the renovations of the Club House to a couple of hundred thousand dollars, not counting the special equipment. Oh, and I guess we will need to staff the Pine Lake Humane Society facility, unless we can get enough volunteers to take the animals for walks. Then there is the cost of leashes and feeding the strays. I think we could do this for little more than a half a million dollars. Say about $1,000 per resident of Pine Lake. I am personally not in favor of paying any taxes of any kind to any government. So, somebody get a hat and pass it around. Or maybe we should use the dog food bowl.

Copyright 2008 by William C. Cotter


jonny said...

We are an island of humanity within a sea of inhumanity. Stray dogs
will keep showing up with greater frequency. Phil, I applaud your
drawing a line at what citizens long on sentimentality, but short on
commitment would put upon you. The long term solution is to make the
county into one that is advanced enough to have citizens that are
responsible and govt. workers and facilities that match your dedicated
and sagacious efforts. Not holding my breath for this to occur in our
Short term, I can only suggest one of the many "rescue"
organizations. I cannot take the dog in.
Meanwhile, if anyone would like to spearhead an annual campaign
(Margie?) for a fund for the care of stray animals, I volunteer to do
sound and lights for the event, pro bono. I just can't start adopting
Phil, I hope that you get a good break for Thanksgiving. You deserve
it. I am thankful for you.
Jonny Hibbert

Tina said...

All you need to do is see one dog that appears sick or is slobbering and call the county health department.

ellen said...

CAN YOU HEAR YOURSELF? Why would you want the city to take on tasks you aren't willing to take on yourself (my animals might get sick, my yard has fleas) and it's for YOUR CAUSE. I don't ask the city to support my various causes which focus on children. I give money to PRIVATE organizations who respond to various problems in our community. I suggest you do the same, or start a private foundation to take care of strays, or find another organization in our community who will accept our strays. Faye Ridling has a wonderful program to help neighbors who are facing challenges. She acts, she doesn't complain to the city because they aren't doing it.
As for the City government, I don't expect them to take care of strays. This is not part of any job description I have seen for mayor or city administrator or council person.
If you care about strays, YOU find a solution, instead of dumping your responsibility on the city. GROW UP!

And you obviously don't know the Howland's commitment to animals. They have taken in some very difficult strays this year, animals that needed vet care, patience towork with these animals to turn around fears and aggression. They have given their time and money to personally care for over 6 animals this year. They did this privately, because they love animals. Perhaps if you are willing to look for solutions instead of tossing blame around, they would be willing to become part of a community service group that would address the problems of these stray animals.

Can this blog be used to find solutions instead of bickering?

Thanks for hearing my frustration and thoughts.


Margie said ...

The reason that the city is in this situation--apart from irresponsible pet owners--is that a majority of council members decided to close the pen without giving the community enough time to implement an alternative. This was decided in a vote that was not advertised to the public before it happened. I was told that it was not even on the agenda (it was later added during the mtg.).Phil, you love animals as much as everyone else and I don't see you volunteering to take this dog home. I am still eradicating fleas from the last stray I brought into my yard. That's why I lobbied council for the city pen to begin with--so that private homeowners would not be in the situation of bringing possible disease into their homes/yards. This is not an issue of not loving animals. You love animals as much as I do and yet you realize that one person alone can't help every stray in the neighborhood. This situation is only going to get worse with the holidays approaching and the economy tanking. Good luck getting DeKalb to respond to your calls. They never seem to respond to mine. If anyone is interested in volunteering their yard, porch, dog house, etc. to help stays in this community, please let me know and we can start to set up a community fostering program. Thanks,


Phil said...

Dear Everyone,Its 730 p.m. and we are about to start our Council meeting. I don't want tocall animal control. I challenge anyone who supports the use of this dogpen for strays or anyone that wants a dog park and claims to love animals tostep forward and help this puppy tonight. If noone shows before our meetingis over, I'll need to do something.I am going to ask Council for advice. My cell number is 404 310-2832. Put your heart where your mouth is and step up to the plate. Pine Lake City Manager

Phil said...

Thanks for your support and understanding. I am sick of being the heavy. I want to help this little animal if we can. The dog is male and looks like a mix of beagle and black lab. It's a puppy, I think. Its scared and I can't get close enough to it to check its teeth.Its solid black with a red collar and no tag. I had taken the gate down, onthe pen and stored it on the ground behind the dog house. Someone took thegate and using a length of chain had chained it to the fence. The chainlooks like it was used as a dog run. Its about 10 to 12 feet long. Pine Lake City Manager

Denise said...

Phil,Can you give me an idea of what the dog looks like? I know several people intown who have small black dogs, all of whom are at work right now, as am I.Does it have any markings? Does it look like any particular breed? If itsounds like any dog I recognize I can try to get in touch with the possibleowners. I too hate the thought of people just dumping dogs in that pen. I'm surethey think they're doing a good thing, when in reality it is not good foranyone.Thanks!Denise

Phil Said...

There is a small black dog in the pen next to my office. This dog has acollar on it. Its someone's pet. The City does not allow dogs to be put inthis pen any longer. Tonight, it will be 30 degrees. This is cruel. Thedog will be miserable unless I take it home or call animal control. I amnot taking it home. If you want to rescue a stray dog, then take it to yourhouse don't dump it on me. The City doesn't have the money to pay for thestaff, food or the insurance to keep dogs here. I have paid for the lastseveral stray dogs and I am not paying for anymore.This is someone's pet that got outside. The people who put it in the penhave made sure that it cannot go home and have probably condemned it tobeing euthanized. If you want to help an animal, take it home.Tonight, at 730, we have a council meeting. If the dog has not been removedby then, I will need to call animal control and have the dog picked up. Itstoo cold to leave it outside. Phil

Dennis Rotch said...

Dog gone thoughts,

The problem of abandoned pets is always with us; the economic catastrophe that is sweeping the country will make this minor problem worse. The major problem, of course, is that millions of people are being "abandoned" by this economic crisis. Let's have a little sympathy this holiday season for the unfortunate people who are having to make the heart breaking decision to abandon a family pet; perhaps, hoping that the pet will somehow find a home.

I have to take issue with what Ellen has said regarding government: "Why would you want the city to take on tasks you aren't willing to take on yourself", says Ellen. Actually government exists for that reason, to do the tasks we do not wish to do ourselves. For example we ask our City to provide for our security by establishing a police department.

I think Margie has made some good points. The Council needs to revisit its decision to close up the pen.

Dennis Rotch

annette cotter said...

Well said, Ellen. Very well said. It's a screaming crying bleeding dying planet and we all do whatever alms we can and live with whatever guilt we must. But puleeez, Margie don't berate all of Pine Lake (and most especially our overworked officials)because the rest of us don't feel inclined to do what you apparently aren't inclined to do either. As per PawPaw Bill's comments, Pine Lake doesn't have the tax base to support its' own Humane Shelter, and creating one isn't the responsibility of city government. As per Jonny Hibbert's comment, we should try and elect a county government that would be more responsible, but then I think we'd have to stop screaming "no new taxes" cause these things aren't free. Margie, if you wish to help this dog, help it. I don't know how long you've lived in Pine Lake, but that's how long you've had to organize a community group to help strays. See what support you can muster. But stop suggesting that the rest of us are heartless and uncaring. We may be helping children in Darfur, cancer patients, or relatives who are disabled.

Anonymous said...

So how does the story end - is someone going to help that poor little puppy? I'd take it but I'm all the way over in Switzerland... where, by the way, you never see stray dogs. Not sure why but you just don't... Poor wee soul, I hope someone takes him in.

Samuel said...

I have a suggestion that has been the solution to this problem since the beginning of the problem:

Shoot the dogs.

That eliminates the need for taxes, donations, and an addition to an already stressed local system.

Most animal care facilities eventually kill the animals anyway.


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