Sunday, June 8, 2008

Second class citizens?

I bought one of our local magazines this week, mainly because it trumpeted "first ever pets issue" on the cover. Since it seems that in Bakersfield treating pets well is only beginning to take hold in any meaningful way, I was excited to see that Bakersfield Magazine was devoting serious pages to pets in all their glory.

That is, until I actually read the magazine.

True to their word, there were several pages devoted to pets. I counted six different articles about people and their furry (and scaled) friends.

And not one word about cats. Except for a photo of a kitten checking out a goldfish bowl (as part of a story about fish) it was as though cats don't exist as pets at all.

Not one paragraph? According to the Humane Society of the United States, there are over 88 million owned cats in the United States, besting the number of dogs owned by over 13 million. Yet they didn't rate a mention in a "pet issue".

Why are cats increasingly being treated as second-class citizens in the world of pet ownership?
Animal Sheltering devoted the cover story of their latest issue to the question. The HSUS's magazine All Animals Spring 2008 issue has a cover story talking about cats having an image problem.

I don't begin to understand it. I've shared my home with cats for as long as I can remember. Back when I was a renter, I only rented homes that allowed cats. As a homeowner I've always had cats as part of my family. I'm enchanted by their beings. I respect those things that make them uniquely cats, from claws to purrs to the little chirpy noises they make when spying birds through the window.

Cats are as individual as the people they live with. That they'd choose to live with (and love) a species that's easily 15 to 20 times larger than they are, trusting us to care for them and to keep them safe is something that I find, quite simply, amazing.

Someone please enlighten me. How did a species once revered as gods fall so far from grace?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Volunteer --- or not welcome?

So, after our little group went to the effort of staging a get-together on our own time, filled out our little apps, checked back in with KCAC and attended an orientation meeting…nothing.

I started checking around today and not one person who has responded back to me has heard diddly about the next phase of their “training” to be a volunteer with Kern County Animal Control. One person is even starting to surmise that they don’t want us there, lest perhaps we gum up the works somehow (or see and/or hear things they’d rather not have us hear).

I’m choosing, for now, to believe that with all of the hoopla the recent UC Davis report generated, maybe their hands are a little full and we’re being benignly neglected. After all, it was a pretty damning indictment of almost every aspect of the shelter. Really --- give it a read.

Given that, I’ll waituntil the end of the week before I start tapping on the door.

Who would have thought it would be so hard to lend a hand to a group of people who desperately need it?

HSUS Offers Reward In Bakersfield, Calif. Animal Cruelty Case

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, you can read about it here . If you have a couple of dollars to spare, consider donating it to the local reward fund.

Here's the HSUS announcement:

The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for setting a family dog on fire.

The Case: News reports give the following account: On May 15, someone doused a border collie-chow dog named Murphy with an accelerant, set him on fire and sent him running home. When Murphy arrived in his yard, his head and torso were in flames. His owners quickly doused him with water and rushed him to an emergency veterinarian, but he had to be euthanized four days later.

"This is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty we have heard about in a very long time. Setting a defenseless animal on fire causes horrendous suffering and anyone capable of such a vicious act poses a potential danger to other animals and people," said Curt Ransom, of The HSUS' West Coast regional office. "California law recognizes this connection and this case should be investigated as an act of felonious cruelty."

The Investigators: The Bakersfield Police Department and Animal Control are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call The Bakersfield Police Department at 661-327-7111 or Animal Control at 661-326-3436.

Anyone interested in contributing to a local reward fund can do so at any San Joaquin Bank. Ask for the Murphy Crawford Reward, account number 022242997. For more reward fund information, contact Susan Madigan at


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