Friday, September 16, 2011

The Problem with Pet Ownership

Reflecting on the recent Animal Care and Control proposed budget hearing, I now have learned more about the actual state of animal care (lowercase letters) in Indianapolis. And it isn't good. I witnessed this first hand earlier this evening.

I went with a good friend to Peppy's Grill, a great 24/7 diner in Fountain Square. While eating, I saw a cat while looking out the window. It was in the yard of the residence next door, so I figured it belonged to someone nearby.

I later saw the same cat while going back to my car. After getting my dog into the car, I approached the cat and it practically ran to me as I came to it. I really don't know much about animals, especially cats, but it seemed relatively young, nourished, and very friendly.

While petting it, a car drove up to me. The driver, also a neighbor nearby, said that I should take the cat. I explained to him I have a dog who just thinks that all cats are weird looking squirrels so I didn't see how that'd work out, and I asked if he knew who it belonged to. He said the previous resident of the rental property next to Peppy's Grill abandoned the cat after they moved.

During the Public Safety Committee meeting, many of those during the public comment section talked about the high number of animals that are euthanized at the shelter. While I do love animals (I've owned several dogs, cats, and parakeets at one time or another), I also recognize that the primary role of a county run animal shelter is public safety. If animals can be adopted or put into foster homes, that's a plus. But if there's too many, euthanasia has to be an option.

I read a statistic, maybe it was in a news article or maybe it was during the hearing, that an average of 22 animals per day are euthanized at the shelter. It's kind of hard to say it's only a Marion County problem, because people across Indiana can come here and drop off animals, but let's assume these 22 animals are all from the central Indiana area.

It probably means that there are too many pets and not enough responsible owners within Marion and the doughnut counties.

So what can we, both as a society and politically minded people, do? I don't have all the answers, but it's certainly something that needs to be addressed, even after the buzz over Animal Care's budget fades away.


  1. Actually your dog would probably adjust to the cat pretty quickly and they'd end up being good friends. I have had both dogs and cats in my life and the dogs always ended up being pals with the cats. Sometimes it took awhile, but it always happened.

    We need a strong spay, neuter and release program in this county. That way the stray cat population wouldn't get any bigger and would eventually decrease. Such a program also wouldn't requiring housing the animals thus saving taxpayer money.

    Dogs are a different story though. Dogs are pack animals and when stray dogs get together with other dogs they will actually attack humans. Even alone, they can be dangerous. People might not like stray cats pooping in their flower bed, but they're not a physical threat to humans like dogs can be.

  2. I just don't get people who move and leave a pet behind or take the pet to the pound. I just could never do that. If I had a pet, I'd never move someplace that the pet couldn't go, unless I found a home for that pet. Abandoning the pet or taking the pet to the pound to get euthanized is not an option. I'd have nightmares doing that.

  3. I got my dog and cat on the same day from the Humane Society. I let Raincloud (cat) out of her cage in the car and she and Yeti (dog also in the back seat of car) sniffed each other and have been best friends ever since. Raincloud attacks Yeti sometimes, but not the other way around! Like Paul, I really don't understand how people can just abandon their pets, especially when they know what will happen to them. But, as you point out, people do just that. I don't know what the solution is.

    The Humane Society, the Pound and most pet stores actually have fairly strict policies before they let people take an animal home. But, most people get their pets in a much more informal way, I think, and I don't know there is any appropriate way to monitor or police that.

  4. I had to put my fabulous cat Sophie to sleep in April. The next day I adopted a big black cat from the Humane Society. Black cats particularly are slow to adopt.

    A couple months later I adopted a beautiful long hair tabby from a foster home. She is so gorgeous and so sweet, I have no clue why someone would not want her.

    Neither of my new kitties should have been turned over and are wonderful pets.

  5. There are actually two very good trap-neuter-return (TNR) groups in Indy, Indy Feral ( and Feral Bureau of Indiana ( Both are excellent organizations that will assist anybody with stray cats. My wife and I have taken around 30 cats over the last few years to these organizations to get neutered and then released them back in our backyard. We currently are caring for 6 that are still with us. The rest have either moved on or passed away. Rest assured there would have been many, many more cats if we didn't have these great groups available to help us.

    I also agree that dogs and cats can get along extremely well. I've had dogs and cats living together for the last 10 years. Haven't had one fight but numerous times catching dogs and cats sleeping side-by-side.

  6. We had a cat start hanging around our yard last winter, keeping an eye on the bird feeder. We did not know where the cat came from, he we saw her more & more frequently. Started giving him shelter from the weather and feeding him. Took him to the vet, discovered what we thought was a girl is actually a boy (even the vet didn't know until she shaved his belly to find his spay incision.) Also discovered he had been microchipped at the Animal Shelter. If someone had bothered to register him, they might have their cat back. Either way, he is a swell cat who has been rescued twice now.

  7. We have had two litters of cats (I have since fixed both of my girls :) ) and we had no problem at all finding them homes using Craigslist. It's sad that some people can't take a little time out of their busy lives to find a good home for such wonderful animals!

  8. Euthanasia doesn't have to be an option. Please see for more information.


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