Recently, there has been a surge in animal abandonment as more and more people are caught on video dumping their pets on the streets, in parking lots, and in public parks. There is absolutely no call for this behavior when they could relinquish the animals to rescues or shelters or try rehoming them first.
Most shelters offer a rehoming section on their websites specifically for people who want to try adopting out their pets before surrendering them. Yes, inflation is behind a lot of the unceremonious dumpings, but many shelters, like the Humane Society, regularly hold free pet food drives on weekends where people experiencing economic hardship can pick up both food and pet supplies for animals.
Larger shelters are happy to do it, as the food is donated to them, and keeping animals with their humans is a much better option than overcrowding and euthanasia. So many of these cast-offs are seen in heartbreaking footage as the animal desperately runs after the vehicle with their departing owner speeding off until they can’t keep up.
Dogs, in particular, will wait days or weeks in the same spot confused and hoping they will return, further endangering their health and wellbeing. Leaving an animal on the side of the road or in a parking lot is a recipe for them to get hit by a car. Do they really mean so little to these people that that’s preferable to taking them to a shelter?
If you see this kind of behavior, you are asked to report it to the authorities. Try to get a license plate number or other identifying information but do not confront these people. With the hair-trigger mentality we face today, there is no telling what could happen.
Recently, a man stuck behind another car on a roadway within a public park witnessed a person repeatedly trying to drive away as the dog they were dumping tried desperately to get back into the vehicle. When the witness called out to the dog’s owner to stop, the person became aggressive and threatening.
Sometimes, abandoned pets are left tied up so that they can’t access food or water. Other times, especially with cats, they are left in a kennel, crate, or box they cannot escape from in freezing weather or scalding temps. Worse yet, they are zipped into some type of bag or knapsack and tossed like garbage.
As an animal lover, you will never be able to wrap your head around this kind of behavior. What you can do, if you see something like this going down or find an obviously abandoned animal, is foster them until you can rehome them yourself. But turning a blind eye to suffering in society should not be an option for any of us. Be a proactive animal advocate instead.