yesterday about having had some good dog friends in my past and the concern that I expressed on Tuesday about abandoned pets is genuine, however, at the risk of incurring the wrath of what I know to be a legion of pet lovers who sometimes read this blog, I must confess here that I am not a huge fan of household pets.
Please let me explain my position before you stop reading this and write me off forever. I like animals, but I am in no means a PETA extremist. I eat meat, but I don't think animals being raised for meat should be abused unnecessarily. I don't have a big problem with zoos and circuses as long as animals in these institutions are cared for and respected. And I believe that humans have been given a responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth and it's creatures.
I have made a choice not to have pets and I would probably never want to have an animal cohabitating within my living space. Many pet owners are very careful about cleanliness and hygiene, while others are not. There have been times when I have visited the home of a pet owner where the environs appear very unclean and smell badly. Sometimes I will leave a place such as this with pet hair covering my clothes--not something I really like.
The irresponsible pet owners are the ones I am concerned about when we start condensing human population in an urban setting. How do we determine who is capable of responsible pet ownership? We already have the problem of people who have no business having children becoming irresponsible parents thereby creating a serious problem. These are the same kinds of people who become irresponsible pet owners.
Despite ordinances about animal waste and noise, this is still a nuisance situation in some communities. Unpleasant odors emanating from homes and yards and issues of insects and other pests can cause discomfort and threaten the health of the community. Then there is the issue of dangerous animals or animals who attack or threaten humans or other animals. An urban animal undergoes some of the same stress as humans can and may react in inappropriate ways or may suffer bad health effects.
Living in the city can be bad enough putting all sorts of different humans in close proximity, but when you add animals to the mix it can create a more disruptive situation. There might be solutions that could work to some extent. In Los Angeles I have heard of condos that cater especially to pet owners. Some neighborhoods offer dog parks.
I would prefer that no pets be permitted in my neighborhood. At times I have been annoyed by the barking of neighbors' dogs. Stepping in dog poop in my yard has been an unpleasant experience on more than one occasion. Recently my wife was charged by a large dog as we took our granddaughter to the pool--pets are not permitted at the pool and I was placed in a confrontational situation with the neighbor who had brought the dog.
If I lived on a farm, in the country, or an open suburban area I would probably have an outside dog. I might even consider an outside cat if rodent control was an issue. I'm not against pets like these. But as long as I live in an urban area like Los Angeles I don't plan to own any pets and I would prefer not to be subjected to the pets of others.
What is your opinion?
Do you think pets are appropriate in crowded urban areas?
What solutions do you think are appropriate? Should people be required to undergo education programs and testing to see if they are qualified to own pets? Do you have a pet horror story you'd like to share?
At the top of this post is a picture of some recent stamps offered by the U.S. Postal Service. The Animal Rescue Adopt a Shelter Pet stamps picture some dogs and cats that have been adopted from animal shelters. The stamps, released on April 30th, were part of a campaign to raise awareness for pet adoption. The postal service also has a number of related items for collectors or for gift giving. You may still be able to find these stamps at your local post office.