Where to begin? Mayor releases shelter dogs in woods

I don’t even know what to say about this story, in which an Arkansas mayor last week released local shelter dogs to fend for themselves in a forest. (Helena Daily World)

According to a report on Sunday, volunteers spent the day searching for the 10 abandoned dogs, without any luck. The saddest part of this story may be the fact that there was an alternative: “Volunteers
with the Humane Society of the Delta say they offered to take the dogs
from the animal shelter and foster them, but the dogs were set loose by
the time they arrived.” (ArkansasMatters.com)


While it’s unusual
to see an elected official — in America, in the 21st century —
issuing a press release that describes abandoning pets in a forest as
“releas(ing) them to freedom”
— as opposed to the more accurate description, “releasing them to die,
terrified, of starvation, hypothermia, disease and predation” — the
belief that domestic animals can fend for themselves in the wild is
sadly all too common.

Cats, rabbits, birds, reptiles, horses and other pets are frequently released outdoors by irresponsible individuals who mistakenly believe they can survive on their own, relying on natural instincts that have been bred out of them generations ago, or that they’ve never learned in a lifetime of captivity.

As sad as it is when I see an owner relinquishing a pet to a shelter, I have to remind myself that it’s better than the alternative.