MILLEDGEVILLE — I visited Baldwin County Animal Control today. I do this on a fairly regular basis if for no other reason than to remind myself that they are still there. It probably won’t be the same ones as my last visit because if not for the kindness of a rescue group the odds are those have been euthanized. You see, they are the unwanted ones, the inconveniences, the strays or owner surrenders, the homeless animals of Baldwin County.
Oh, but you say “I would never give up my pet,” or “I am a responsible pet owner. Mine are spayed and neutered.” You rationalize that things will be okay because most animals at the local shelter find good, loving homes. Really? Did you know that in 2013 alone over 1,000 animals were euthanized in Baldwin County because they had nowhere to go? Did you ever think that someone has to make the decision of who dies today and who gets just a little more time in hopes that someone will step forward to adopt? Have you ever seen the fear in the eyes of an abandoned animal? Did you ever shed a tear for a puppy or kitten who never got a chance to just be loved by someone? I have.
It is time that we as a community stop and ask ourselves, “Why are we allowing this to happen?” The time to do something is now! The first step in controlling the homeless pet population is to insist that pets be spayed or neutered. There are many low cost options available to financially assist pet owners, including a low cost mobile clinic that comes to our county quarterly (SAFE can be reached at 478-550-5050). Their next scheduled visit to Milledgeville is July 10.
When you decide to bring a pet into your family you take on full responsibility for that animal. You have made a commitment for the lifetime of that animal, not just an “until I find another hobby” commitment. Being responsible for that pet includes making sure that it doesn’t produce litter after litter of unwanted offspring that will eventually become someone else’s responsibility because you can’t find homes for them all. Animal rescue groups have staff and volunteers committed to caring for homeless animals until they are adopted into loving families, but most of these groups stay full to capacity with no room to accept any more animals.