I have been reading with concern of the situation in North America and all the foreclosures and heartbreaks humans and animals are facing. When humans can no longer afford to feed themselves they have little choice but to give up their animals. Most of them do the right thing, taking their animals to a shelter or finding a good home for them. The thoughtless just abandon their dogs, cats and birds on the streets, or leave them near shelters or even locked in their abandoned homes.
Here in Georgetown, we are living the sad situation of seeing people having to move from their homes on the railway embankment, and many are unable to take their animals with them. Some owners just release their dogs which tend to hang around their ex-homes until hunger drives them away to look for food. Others tie their animals to trees with good intentions to return for them, but never do. Some leave their dogs in the care of neighbours, themselves in the process of moving, who cannot properly care for them. These dogs seem to sense their owner’s stress and fear and when they see the trucks drive off with the remains of their owner’s home (and one or more of their tied-up brothers), they panic and run. On a recent visit to the Lamaha Street embankment area, in response to a telephone call, I found one dog with a broken back. According to ‘Sobers,’ a kind person working with the Community Drainage and Irrigation group, the poor animal had been lying there in pain for several days. She was carefully picked up and taken to the GSPCA to be euthanized.
Since people started moving from the railroad embankment area (between Parade Street and Vlissengen Road) some 50 dogs, cats, puppies and kittens have been collected and taken to GSPCA. Between 10 and 15 dogs remain but are now more difficult to catch since they have become streetwise animals. From this experience an important lesson can be learned for the Stage 2 clearing of the railroad embankment between Vlissengen Road and Sheriff Street; that is, Central Housing and Planning (CHP) should plan ahead and advise those people moving either to take their animals to the GSPCA or to call 226-4237 and ask the GSPCA to come and pick up the animals they are unable to take with them. Owners should tie these animals in a cool spot with access to drinking water while waiting for the GSPCA or a volunteer.
While rescuing animals on a volunteer basis is not easy, physically or emotionally, it is a job that needs to be done. More volunteers are needed to assist with the catching and the removal of dogs and cats from the railway embankment sites. Animal owners need to be properly informed of such things as what to do with animals being left behind, the proper method for tying and transporting their animals by vehicle, and how to use cement slings for restraining their dogs.
The GSPCA staff should be congratulated for their assistance in accepting and dealing with all the animals collected from the Railway Embankment site.