Pet abandonment is illegal

Over the a past two weeks, we have heard of two cases of animal abandonment in the Lower Similkameen

Over the a past two weeks, we have heard of two cases of animal abandonment in the Lower Similkameen.

One involved a dog, found with a collar, hungry and cold, in the Morrison Drive area just before Christmas. It had one of its forelegs caught in its choker collar, and initially resisted attempts by residents in the area to get close enough to help it.

More recently, a security member of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band witnessed someone abandoning a cat in the Ashnola area. By the time the watchman realized what was taking place, the car had driven off.

There are alternatives to leaving helpless domestic animals to the wilds when pet owners no longer want them, or are unable to keep them. The practise of taking a pet into a rural area and releasing it is all too common, and demonstrates a profound heartlessness – and ignorance – on the part of the pet owner.

In the case of the abandoned dog, nearby residents were able to eventually elicit the animal’s trust. and after freeing its paw, fed it and sheltered it until animal bylaw enforcement authorities could receive it.

Corinne Ross, Branch Manager at the Penticton SPCA, admits there is no real answer to the problem of unwanted pets, but said there are alternatives to  abandoning an animal, which in addition to being a poor choice, is illegal as well.

A pet owner can try to place the animal privately, through friends or online and newspaper ads. Shelters like the SPCA do their best to help, and can often offer solutions to pet owners in dire straights.

Ultimately, however, the pet’s responsibility is that of the pet owners’ – and abandonment is a cruel choice that should be further discouraged through costly, punitive fines for anyone caught in the act.