It takes money to treat and care for animals. And if people aren’t prepared to spend money on their pets, why have them in the first place?

Our family has taken in many stray cats over the years. A few had worn collars, so we placed ads in the newspaper, hoping someone would claim them.

It seemed no one wanted them.

Some were so wild, I didn’t think they could ever be domesticated. It took me about two years for one cat, “Fuz,” to trust me. Others I was forced to surrender to our vet or the Cowley County Humane Society. I had little hope that anyone would adopt them.

Just recently, my brother and I had to have a scared and wounded cat euthanized. It had tumors all over his body, and showed the signs of being in many cat fights.

It’s so sad to me that if any of these animals originally belonged to somebody, why didn’t they assume responsibility for their welfare? How would people feel if they were abandoned, starving or sick, and no one would help them?

The same thing might apply to our wildlife. It’s so easy to destroy or outright kill wildlife when unreasonable individuals can’t think of more positive solutions.

Every once in a while, a story or televised segment will pop up concerning the inhumane treatment of wild and domestic animals.

I recall one man who gassed cats that roamed in his yard. He was more concerned with his birds. I love birds, too, but did he have the right to gas the cats? They could have been someone’s pet. He said, “Well, they shouldn’t have been in my yard.”

Hasty judgments by some citizens and authorities concerning peoples’ rights vs. animal rights continue to be controversial, and the issue may never come to rest.

To be more specific, there are wildlife laws that need to be enforced and respected, but sometimes people can’t always agree on how to handle a situation that involves settling a dispute over an animal that is causing a nuisance in the community.

A couple of months ago, a peacock had been making so much noise and commotion in a California community, that a person posted a “hit” on the bird on Craig’s List. In other words, that person was asking someone if he or she would kill the peacock. 

Although this incident didn’t happen in Kansas, or even locally, it still serves as an example of making quick decisions without thinking them through. 

The peacock was shot and eventually died.

“It sounds sad,” said Bob Gress, former director of the Great Plains Nature Center, in Wichita, and a biologist, naturalist, photographer and birder. 

Gress added that the root of this issue may be more about getting along and communicating with neighbors and others with different opinions.

“The livestock industry is a good example,” he said. “There are humane societies and usually local regulations concerning issues of abuse for livestock, as well as for pets and domestic animals.”

Shawn Silliman, naturalist and director of Chaplin Nature Center, said the peacock situation sounds like it was handled poorly, but he’s not surprised by it.

Although the peacock is a bird not protected by state and federal laws, there are other bird and animal species in Kansas that are protected.

Silliman added that it is usually “after the fact” that people look back and wish they had handled the situation differently or not taken such drastic action.

“People are not infallible, and even reasonable people do make poor decisions due to emotions and frustrations,” he said.

Kansas has extensive laws on the taking of wildlife as well.

“For the most part, it is illegal except for specific species during certain seasons,” Silliman added. “Some exceptions are made for nuisance species that cause property damage or potential health issues.”

It may take time for peoples’ views to change in regard to respecting domestic animals and wildlife. But people like Silliman, Gress and others involved with protecting any animal or all wildlife in general know how change can happen.

“The two tools that can be used to change peoples’ views toward all animals are education and laws,” Silliman stressed.

 

Carol Wright is a CourierTraveler Correspondent. She can be reached at carolann6110@gmail.com.

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