This article just went up a while ago. It’s supposed to be about the lack of funding at the Brownsville Animal Regulation and Care Center, and how their shelter is too tiny to deal with the number of animals they take in. They only have one employee to take calls—about 100 a day—and send out the ACOs (animal control officers). They need more funding, more officers, more vehicles, a much bigger facility.
Texas is known for some truly horrifying animal euthanasia rates. A few years ago, the Rio Grande Valley had the honor of being #1 in the nation, euthanizing about 30,000 animals a year due to severe overcrowding. San Antonio was #3. And according to the article, “Animal rescue groups estimate that there are now 42,000 cats and 36,000 dogs, strays and pets” in Brownsville alone. To this day, we still have no low cost spay/neuter clinic. Also, though it’s getting better, it’s still very embedded in the local culture that spaying and neutering is wrong/cruel.
Major stuff. Major issues that need to be presented to the community.
But how does the article begin?
BROWNSVILLE — The commotion began under Michelle Cano’s truck. She had heard loud barking in the driveway while feeding her cats, and when she checked beneath her vehicle, she saw what looked like two pit bulls attacking her neighbor’s cat.
Cano ran inside and triggered the car alarm from her garage in an effort to scare the animals away. She even shot at one with her 10-year-old son’s pellet gun and called the police.
But it was useless, Cano said — the dogs mauled the milk-white feline then moved into her front yard, where they mangled the family’s two gray-striped kittens. She and her son could only watch from a bedroom window.
“It was the worst thing you could possibly ever see,” her son, Dalton St. Romain Cano, wrote in his journal later that evening. “It was like you were in a nightmare or a horror movie.”
Yup. They started with a sensational pit bull attack—the name of the shelter and the focus of the article aren’t even mentioned until the 5th paragraph. Not only that, but the article leads the reader to believe that they were strays out on the prowl for their next victim. If the city just had more funding and more manpower, these evil, stray pit bulls would not be on the streets terrorizing innocent people and killing fluffy kitties! Only later in the article is it revealed (in passing) that these dogs escaped from their neighbor’s yard.
Let me be clear: I don’t think it’s okay that those dogs killed those cats. If a dog did that to my cats (or my dog), I would die. Animal control should’ve taken those dogs away, because they obviously were a danger.
But that’s not what the article was supposed to be about. It’s supposed to be about funding, and instead the writer turned it into pit bull sensationalism, something the media just loves to do. And the article got published on Pit Bull Awareness Day, when shelters try to promote pit bull adoptions and dispel pit myths. It’s so fucking irresponsible.
Shit like this—coupled with irresponsible owners and irresponsible breeders—is the reason shelters across the nation are filled with pit bulls. Shit like this is why people support cruel breed-specific legislation. Shit like this is why people are terrified of giving these dogs a chance. Shit like this is why pit bulls don’t even stand a chance at many shelters around the nation—they aren’t even allowed to be put up for adoption and are instead immediatly put on the euthanasia list. Shit like this is why Red up in Yonkers, NY has been at the shelter for her entire 7.5 years of life–she went in as a puppy and remains there to this day as a senior.
Now I’m going to brace myself for the onslaught of anti-pit bull comments on that article that are sure to come if this story is still in a featured spot tomorrow morning. Sigh.
EDIT: I started digging around a little and discovered that a low-cost clinic will be opening as soon as they can find a vet. But I also came across this:
In 2007, PVAC reported an intake of approximately 32,600 dogs and cats and the euthanasia of 26,734 dogs and cats. This is an astounding 82% euthanasia rate. Using these numbers with the average weight per animal being 25lbs., 334 tons of animal carcasses were deposited into the local landfill in 2007.
This? This is what that newspaper article needed to be focusing on. Damn, it makes me so mad.