By Janetta Overholser
Mahatma Gandhi made a statement: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
What changes need to take place in Lane County to make it a safe place for animals?
1. Landlords/owners/property managers need to enforce pet policies in their rentals, trailer parks, apartments, etc.
In the last few months there have been animal hoarding situations that Eugene Animal Services, Greenhill Humane Society and other rescues have been involved in. More than 30 cats were recently taken from an abandoned apartment. These animals are the lucky ones — someone cared enough to report them so the authorities could get them out of their filthy and inhumane situation.
But issues like this should not be happening. Landlords/owners/managers need to have pet policies in place for their properties and enforce them. If pets are allowed — how many? They must be altered with proof of same in their files. Any pets outside will be on leash, in a fenced yard or in a catio. There will be an inspection two to three times a year. And the rules will be enforced.
There is information online regarding Oregon laws about pet lease agreements for rentals. And I’m sure the local authorities such as Lane County Animal Services, your city’s animal control, or the police can give you specifics for your location.
2. Everyone gets their pets altered.
If everyone got their pets altered, there would not be unwanted litters, people desperate to give away puppies and kittens and so many dumped animals. There are a number of resources for financial assistance for altering cats and dogs.
3. Springfield desperately needs an animal shelter, instead of depending on small rescues with very limited funds to help all the animals in need.
Springfield has a population of around 62,000, but no animal shelter to help care for the strays in the community. Yes, there is Springfield Animal Services, which basically deals with dog situations. Cats are a huge issue. Small rescues with very limited resources deal with hundreds of phone calls regarding cats in Springfield city limits. It would be wonderful if the city stepped up to help in this situation, perhaps a community focused organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce, or a group of concerned citizens to create a shelter or resource in Springfield.
4. The veterinary community combines forces. If each clinic were to offer so many free spay/neuter appointments one time a year for feral cats and/or pets of low/no-income folks, it would make a huge impact.
If every veterinary clinic in the Eugene/Springfield vicinity would commit to doing 10 free spay/neuter of feral cats during the year, it would make an impact. They could work with the existing rescues to funnel the cats in on the day set aside. Either the cats could be worked in during regular work days, or a weekend day set aside, with staff volunteering their time. Each clinic could be responsible for only one week or weekend per year.
This is a problem that can be solved, provided we all work together.
Think about the quote from Gandhi — where is Lane County at? And what are you doing to make it better?