Ideas for Pet Overpopulation - Letter to the Editor

It describes ideas followed by forward-thinking communities that have approached the pet overpopulation crises in more progressive ways.

FOF letter to the editor, printed in The Stamford Advocate, Friday, August 27, 2005

To the editor:

My thanks to The Advocate for the news article on the importance of helping homeless pets in our community ( "Unwanted pets find new life in foster homes," August 13, 2005).

Pets are abandoned every day by people who should never have had a pet in the first place. Most of these animals are ill-equipped to live on the streets or in the woods. They are animals that have been domesticated by and for humankind for thousands of years.

Many have not been spayed or neutered, and their inevitable offspring are considered "feral" only because they are not socialized with humans. In all other ways, including the need for shelter, food and our interference with their "reproductive rights." they are as domesticated as their parents.

None of this is the animal's fault.

As a volunteer with Friends of Felines, I am all too aware of the forgotten cats and kittens struggling to survive outside. In "The City That Works," this will always be an overwhelming and endless cycle of misery, unless we follow the example of forward-thinking communities that have approached the pet overpopulation crises in more progressive ways.

A few simple ideas:

* Stamford could lend space for an adoption/humane education center. Homeless cats, as well as dogs from the city shelter, should have a place to be showcased in a clean and cheerful environment, and our children should have the opportunity to learn about respect and responsibility toward animals.

* If Bridgeport, Trumbull and Easton can provide some of the funding for a trap/neuter/return program, the most efficient, cost-effective and humane method of controlling feline overpopulation, so can Stamford.

* This community could provide more foster homes. Our local no-kill shelters and rescue group facilities are full, and have been for months.

* This is an election year. The people of Stamford have an opportunity to become a "voice for the voiceless" this November.

If we don't force a change in Stamford's shamefully apathetic and outdated policy toward our homeless animal population, then shame on us.