We have a serious problem with pet overpopulation in Jamaica, and it isn’t from owner’s conscious decision to breed their pets. Because the island has no leash laws, or requirements for dog licenses, people allow their dogs to roam freely and reproduce. The dog gets stolen or killed, and the owners simply replace the dog. No problem.
Yesterday on my way to run an errand, I saw a white German Shepherd-looking dog roaming a busy street with her black and white puppy in tow. After completing my errand, I returned in search of the duo, and pulled int a service station to make inquiries. The security guard there said that he’d seen the white dog, and heard a dog “bark strangely.” It was then that I saw the puppy sitting on the grass at the station. Its dam was nowhere in sight.
As I approached the puppy, it began trembling, and tried to get up. That’s when I realized that it was hurt. The “strange bark” that the guard heard was probably the puppy squealing when a car hit it. The guard got me a cardboard box in which to place the puppy and I took it to the local humane society.
A quick examination revealed a broken leg. Because of the high cost of veterinary care and the likelihood that the puppy may not get adopted, the clinic was unwilling to take in the puppy. The decision fell into my lap.
I agonized about paying this high vet bill for an injured puppy that didn’t belong to me. I would have had to pay for the care and boarding of the animal at the shelter until someone came along to adopt it. If the puppy wasn’t adopted, all that effort would have gone down the drain because the puppy would be euthanized.
I made the heart-breaking decision, and signed the forms to euthanize. Through tears I stayed with the puppy, stroking it’s tiny head as the vet injected it with the solution that would end its life.
Dog ownership is a major responsibility. Let’s face it: we force dogs to share our lives. They do not choose to live with us. They depend on us for food, shelter, water, and protection from harm. That’s the basics without the extra trimmings like social and mental stimulation that makes for a healthy, well-adjusted dog. When people neglect their animals, then they cause great anguish to strangers who are then left to make heart-rending decisions.