This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Theme for 2022 is My Vinyl Record Collection. This will be about the music I still have on my shelf. Be sure to check the links for samples of the albums and music I'll be talking about. There will be a lot of interesting music ahead for your listening enjoyment.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tossing It Out Tuesday: Ditching the Dog

      Florida Neighborhoods Invaded By Giant Pythons

          The southern area of Florida near the Everglades has been having a snake problem.  These are not the snakes that are native to the area, but giant non-native snakes like Burmese pythons.  The population of giant snakes in the Everglades is growing so rapidly that these snakes are starting to appear in neighborhoods near the swamplands, where they are a threat to pets and humans.  These are snakes that can grow to 20 feet in length.

           How did these non-native snakes show up in Florida?   They were once pets that had perhaps become too much for their owners or for some other reason tossed out into the wilds of the Everglades.  Perhaps the former owners thought they were showing the snakes a humane gesture by sending them into the wild.  Apparently these people did not realize or maybe they did not care that they were creating an imbalance to the ecosystem.  Now hundreds of these giant snakes are captured or killed each year.

                          Something's Fishy In The Ecosystem

          The problem extends from the Everglades to other water systems of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams as people have dumped non-native fish species.   Certain breeds of tilapia, carp, and other fish threaten the habitats of native fish and often are ruthless predators that threaten to eradicate other species. 

                                                 Fowl Play

           The story I heard about the duck pond in Alcoa, Tennessee was that people would buy their children baby ducklings at Easter and when the ducks got bigger they'd be taken to the duck pond and dumped.  What ever the true story may be, these birds have adapted well to their habitat and have not been a threat.  However, other exotic birds have either escaped or been turned loose into urban environments.  They too may have adapted, but there is concern as to the potential harm this situation could create.

                                                   Wild Cats    

            We might think of ocelots, bobcats, and cougars when we think of wild cats in the United States.  The bigger problem is the population of feral cats.  These cats may have once been pets that were abandoned or they may have just been born into the wild.  Sometimes un-neutered cats will spew out uncontrolled litters of kittens that are eventually turned loose.  These cats may roam in packs.  They can help control rodent populations.  Disneyland in Anaheim, California keeps a population of feral cats that are released nightly to control rodents (ironic for a kingdom ruled by a mouse).  But urban cat populations can also pose a nuisance and a health hazard.

                               The Responsibility of Pet Ownership 

         Many people take pet ownership rather lightly.   They do it for their kids, or because they think it would be cool to have a ferret, or a monkey, or some other animal.   Then when they discover the responsibility involved the novelty wears off.  There are the issues involving feeding, animal waste, veterinary care, grooming, and many other issues to consider.  Sometimes the easiest solution of pet disposal is to carry it off and dump it off at the side of a road somewhere-- bad idea!

          If you no longer want a pet, see if you can find someone who you know and trust to take the animal.   Do not just give it away to any stranger who claims they will give your pet a good home.   You don't really know what kind of plans they have in store.

           Contact  a veterinarian or an organization like the ASPCA for advice.  Realize that the animal may end up being euthanized, but at least an effort will be made to find the animal a home.  Some pet shops may take your unwanted pet.  If the animal is exotic, like the Burmese Python, offer to give it to a zoo--they may be able to find a place for it.   If you feel that you must toss out a pet, then toss it out the right way.

            The bottom line is to realize what you're getting into before you take a pet as your responsibility.  Be aware of the costs and upkeep of the animal, the eventual size it will attain, what kind of personality the animal might be expected to have--in other words, be ready for whatever problems you might encounter and ask yourself truthfully if you want to deal with all of that.   A pet is not your personal plaything or your child's toy, but it is a living creature.

            What pets do you own?   Have you ever had a pet run away or disappear, never to be seen again?  Do feral ex-pets live around your home?   Do they cause any problems?   What is the strangest pet that you or someone you know has?    What is your opinion of owning exotic pets?



  1. Most interesting Lee, don't wish to come across those pythons, In Spain there are many wild cats about and being an animal lover used to upset me to think they had no homes,Most enjoyable to read,


  2. Working for a veterinarian, I see all too often the disasters that can happen when people get a pet that they are not prepared to care for. 90% of the time, lack of education is the problem. Being a strictly small animal clinic, the biggest problem we see are "impulse" puppies and kittens. People acquire a pet with absolutely no idea of the costs involved in their care. Words that strike fear into my heart "this is our free puppy". No such thing, my friend. Our local animal shelter has started a spay/neuter/vaccination program for feral cats. These cats are then given to local farmers/business owners, etc, to help control rodent populations. It has worked out very well. Interesting post!

  3. I just watched a show on those snakes!

    I have 3 dogs. Use to have a cat but the thief's who broke in took her.

    Feral ex-pets? I'm sure that term could be used to describe the neighborhood gangs.

    Exotic pet? take your pick, skunk, pigeon, raccoon, deer, groundhog.

    Wonderful, Lee

    Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. Hi Lee .. I recently saw a program (British) on the pythons in the Everglades .. and it was very interesting .. what struck me and the programme highlighted was the evolutionary changes going on in some of these creatures structures - the python & there was another 'critter' .. I can't remember what .. but the evolutionary thing was amazing to be told about - sorry moving house and all the other things have made my memory not so clever - but I did take note!

    Creatures being dumped is now going to become a really bad problem as the economics of life kick in .. and some creatures live a long time - horses 30+ years ..

    Interesting post .. thanks Hilary

  5. Alligators in neighbords was bad enough. But pythons, too? Yikes.
    We have a dog who had been abandoned. Can't imagine anyone throwing away a dog like Buddy. He's so loving. But exotic pets are different. Not sure how I feel about it. Interesting post, Lee.

  6. It's a great reminder, Lee. There is a reason the Humane Society insists on spaying and neutering and that when you adopt, you sign an agreement that they ONLY place an animal can go if you cannot keep it anymore is back to the Humane Society.

    We adopt for life. No matter HOW much trouble, we'd never get rid of 'a family member' like that, but I do know things happen (children with allergies, families breaking apart)--it's important people don't do these things lightly. We DID release a turtle once, but we did it through a program that rehabilitated first and released in his native spot.

  7. >> Disneyland in Anaheim, California keeps a population of feral cats that are released nightly to control rodents (ironic for a kingdom ruled by a mouse). <<

    Ha! I'd never heard that before, r-LEE-b. (That's funny!)

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  8. Yvonne -- The problem with the feral cats is that their home is in the wild and they have no one to maintain them. They can become health hazards.

    Kat -- I like the idea of placing the feral cats on farms where they will get some supervision and care, and be performing a productive service as well.

    Jules -- Not sure I can understand a thief who would steal a cat unless the cat was extraordinarily valuable.

    Hilary -- I've been hearing a lot about those snakes in Florida. Apparently it is becoming a very serious and scary problem.

  9. Karen -- Someone usually notices an abandoned dog, but the more exotic reptiles, fish, and birds often aren't noticed until they begin to pose a serious threat.

    Hart -- I think some people buy a pet almost like they'd buy a toy or a decoration for their home. They don't put the living being factor in the equation.

    StMc -- I thought the feral cats at Disneyland was a funny story as well when I heard it. I can see why Disney would not want to publicize this in a big way. Who wants to go to one of their theme parks knowing that the park has actual real-life rodents living there let alone packs of roaming feral cats--sounds downright creepy for the "happiest place on earth".

  10. Some people look at pets as a 'thing' they possess, but it's more like bringing a small child into your home. Don't do it unless you're ready for the responsibility.

  11. I like cats-wanna trade recipes?

    Does this mean that when I tied my cats together by the tail and toss them over the ceiling fan, that I'm being mean?

    I kid-as Stephen McCarthy can attest, my cats have the life of Riley.

    Their biggest concern is which piece of furniture to sharpen their claws on.

    Feral cats are a problem, however.

    Where I work, a few women who think they are being humane feed the feral cats that inhabit our parking lot.

    Of course, this encourages more cats to hang around, and they breed.

    I suggested once that if they were so concerned about the cats' welfare, why don't they trap them and have them neutered. I got the evil eye.

    If you are going to abandon your pet, at least give it a fighting chance and let it outside.

    I keep hearing stories of people who leave pets inside a home in Arizona in the summer.

    That's just plain mean.

    Imagine if you were left by a loved one to slowly die in a sauna with no water.


  12. I think some people see their pets as "accessories" or some sort of status symbol/statement They forget they are living things that feel pain, and need love (although I am not sure about snakes needing love). And of course care.

    I had an african grey parrot escape the cage and fly away as I was washing his cage outside. He was due for wing clipping, just didnt get to it in a timely manner.

    I could hear him in the trees for a couple of days. He never did come back, even though I left the cage and food for him outside. I cried for days about it.

    I hate it when I see people drive around with dogs on their laps, or hanging 1/2 out of windows. It's not cute, it's irresponsible, no matter how much the owner may like it and think it is fun for the pet.


  13. We're animal lovers, but only own fish. We're never been home enough to take care of one properly. When the kids were younger and they were in all their sports and activities the poor animal would have been alone most of the time.

    If someone owns a pet they really are obligated to take care of it physically and emotionally.

  14. Interesting subject. Me, I don't approve of owning "exotic" pets - they belong free in the wild. I don't even like zoos - not natural and unfair to the animals.

  15. We own cats and strays at that. I think wild animals should be left in the wild.
    Now the strangest pets I ever owned were two rats named Ben and Socrates. They were really sweet!

  16. So very true. I used to work in a pet store where every Easter we would be inundated with people wanting to purchase bunnies. We did a specific agreement up for each family to inform them of all the responsibilities as well as the return policy in anticipation of people doing what you mentioned.

    I currently own three cats - all rescues, all fixed, all indoor. We used to have a ferret, also a rescue, and had him put down a few years ago. First illness we were able to treat with surgery (adrenal gland tumor), but when he wound up with cancer again it was time. Lived a long and happy life though (for a ferret). He loved playing tag with one of the cats and rode one of the other cats (much to that feline's embarrassment).

  17. My husband and I have always taken our pet owner responsibilities very seriously. Over the past twenty years we have had eight cats and three dogs. All of them indoor pets. All of them spayed and neutered. We now are down to three cats and two dogs.
    I cannot stand when people leave their pets outside in extreme temperatures all day. It really pisses me off. I'd like to chain them to a tree all day and see how they'd like it.
    Love Di ♥

  18. Well, since I strongly believe that at least 80% of people shouldn't be allowed to be parents since they are not responsible and able enough to raise them, this goes for pet owners as well :)

    Since I grew up on a farm I always had a lot of animals around me. Since I moved many years ago, I now only have two cats and their little kittens who were born this spring :) And, no, I do not own an elephant, contrary to rumors going around the blogosphere ;)
    My town has one of the most beautiful ZOOs in Europe (the animals are not in cages but in some natural looking spaces), but I don't approve of ZOOs so I haven't been there for years.

  19. In Irvine Park (close to where I live) there are dozens of Amazon parrots that inhabit the trees. Of course, they are not indigenous to the area. They escaped or were let go by their owners.

    I've had two parrots. Gotta keep those wings clipped. It just takes that one open door and that bird is gone.

    Stephen Tremp

  20. Alex -- Indeed, some people think of their pets as "their children".

    Larry -- People who leave their pets shut up in a car are also a problem.

    Sig -- I agree that often people use pets as symbols to elevate themselves or to get attention.

    Jemi -- Pets need care and attention. Although I've seen some cats that as long as they are fed they seem to be quite content to be left alone.

    Marvin -- Zoos are controversial. I can see the value in them when the animals are well cared for--especially in the case of certain endangered species.

    L.Diane -- Shades of Ratman's Notebook! I guess I know where the inspiration for the rats' names came from.

    Kimberly -- Rescued animals are the most practical pets.

    Diana -- When one has to chain an animal to keep it, then I think the issue of ownership should be evaluated.

    Dezmond-- What! You don't own an elephant? You've let us down.

    Stephen Tremp -- One has to be especially careful with a pet that can fly. If they want to go it may be difficult to get them back.

  21. NO snakes at all allowed here! I have had cats (as a child growing up), two birds, many goldfish and now one dog. The dog is a Miniature Pinscher/Jack Russell Terrier mix and is such a loving companion. And is spoiled rotten!

  22. A much needed post! Thanks! I have cats, and if a cat hangs around my house outside for more than two weeks, I take it to be neutered and get it's shots. I just can't stand the thought of more cats being born and not taken care of. I also contribute to my vets Amigo fund. She helps take care of strays, a lot that were dumped due to a medical problem they have. You can visit her office any time and find ten or more walking around.

  23. I had a friend who had pet snakes. He loved them and was very careful with them.

    In my corner of the world it's law to tag our pets with microchips so that if they run away they can be identified.

  24. All the pets I've owned, and there have been many over the years, started out life out as either feral or abandoned by their original owners.

    All of my pets (dogs, cats, rabbits, birds) have been wonderful companions that have shared deep bonds with our family.

    I once had a couple of frogs (I guess you could call them exotics) that proved to be incredible pets that had definite personalities and were rather long-lived for their species.

    No pet losses other than extreme old age.

  25. Cheryl --I don't think I'd have a snake either.

    Judy -- It's good that there are responsible people like you to take care of the problems left by the irresponsible ones.

    Lynda -- The microchip solution sounds like a good way to peg responsibility on someone.

    Paula -- Were the frogs housebroken? Did you teach them any tricks?


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