I don’t hate animals. I love animals. But there are some things having to do with animals that I loathe.
From the gut-wrenching feeling you get when your pet is lost to reading about yet another puppy mill bust, some things about animals upset us or make us angry. Here are 9 of my pet peeves.
1. Getting Lost
It could be an hour or half a day before you realize your pet is missing. Every corner and room in the house is searched and when it turns up empty, that pit-in-your-stomach feeling takes over. Your pet is lost. Did someone open a window and your bird flew away? Did the cat sneak out of the door when the delivery man came? This is one of the worst feelings for pet parents and something we don’t want to encounter.
Fortunately there are services that help recover lost animals by mailing fliers, calling your neighbors and notifying veterinarian offices and shelters. Sadly, it’s also possible that your pet will never be found.
2. Health Problems
Seeing your pet in pain and not knowing how to help can be agonizing. Anger abounds with heartworms because they are easily preventable. Cancer, diabetes, feline leukemia and other conditions are saddening. Luckily, with medication and a treatment plan, many animals can lead normal lives. But when the disease takes our beloved pets, we wish there had been a cure. Veterinary medicine is constantly evolving and advancing, and there is hope that one day these conditions can be eradicated.
3. Breed-Specific Legislation
Judging people for the way they look is discrimination. Our laws were changed because people no longer tolerated this behavior — so why are there people who still believe an animal can be judged on its appearance? Several of these notions still exist for some animals: raccoons are rabid, chickens are mean, cats will scratch and certain dogs will attack.
Breed-specific legislation, or BSL, is most notable with dogs. Insurance companies refuse to insure people with dogs on a certain list because they might be aggressive. Dogs are killed around the world for looking like a “pit bull.” Luckily, the laws in some areas are changing, but BSL is still part of society. With any luck, one day it will be eradicated, because there’s nothing worse than seeing a dog being taken away from a family because one person believes it will be a danger.
4. Forced Fighting
Animals fight in the wild for resources and survival, not for sport. Enter the human race, and some people force animals to fight. Cock fighting and dog fighting are the 2 most common that come to mind. Dog fighting is more common, and it seems every year another dog fighting ring is broken up. The dogs that survive are fearful, anxious and can have problems ever leading a normal pet life. For some of the dogs, all they have known is fear and pain.
Sadly, as we saw in the Michael Vick case, a person who abuses, beats, starves and even kills animals is allowed to have dogs again. Stronger laws are needed to protect these animals and severely punish the offenders.
People who breed animals for profit with no regard for their health are operating mills. Any animal can be milled, although dogs are the most common. Puppy mills are so common that organizations around the world have been formed to work on shutting them down and helping the animals seized from the operations. Often these animals live in filth, waste, cramped spaces and without any veterinary care for their entire lives.
6. Kill Shelters and Overpopulation
Spay and neuter. We hear it so often we tune it out; it’s a natural obligation when you have a pet. But not everyone thinks like this. Misconceptions about allowing an animal to breed “just once” or thinking they’ll never get out of house so they are not at risk help fuel the pet overpopulation problem. Shelters fill at an alarming rate, and some of them euthanize animals to create space. I understand this is necessary in some cases, but I don’t have to like it.
7. Animal Cruelty
The idea of a pet being kicked, burned, shot or harmed in any way is enough to turn a stomach. Domestic animals rely on us for companionship, nutrition and a safe home. Whether it’s a lack of empathy or pure evil, there are people who wouldn’t think twice about harming an animal. We see these stories in the news regularly: a dog tied to a tree for years, a cat dumped in a box with masking tape around its mouth or a ferret thrown out when its cuteness wears off. Penalties for animal cruelty are far below what is necessary to appropriately punish the offenders and prevent new offenders, and it will take a while for these laws to be changed.
If you own more than one cat, you’re a crazy cat lady. Ferrets stink, so their caretakers must be dirty people. Black cats are evil. Certain dogs are aggressive and will always end up biting someone; you can tell just by the way they look.
These misconceptions are usually held by people without pets, but pet families can also think some of these ideas are true about different species. Our choice of pet can reflect on us instead of being seen as a caring person who gave an animal a home. Education about different species can help people understand more about them, but it doesn’t mean the misconceptions will disappear.
9. Saying Goodbye
Break out the Kleenex, because this is the one that really, really sucks. Saying goodbye to a pet is one of the hardest things we do, and unfortunately it is a natural cycle of life. It doesn’t make it any easier, though. I still think about my first cat, who had to be put to sleep after years on thyroid medication to keep her alive.
Just a week ago my beloved family dog left us after fighting lymphoma of the liver, and it has been difficult dealing with her loss. One thing is universal, though; saying goodbye is never easy.
What animal-related things make you angry? Tell me in the comments below.
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