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PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post on Euthanizing Stray Animals in US
Created by John Eipper on 06/12/14 3:32 AM

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on Euthanizing Stray Animals in US (Randy Black, USA, 06/12/14 3:32 am)

Eugenio Battaglia made several puzzling claims in his June 11th post. He said that the "US law... that allows ...killing stray dogs, not claimed by the owner, within three days from their capture, is awful."

Eugenio should rest assured that there is no federal law dictating such an action. By using the term "US law," I presume he implies that a federal law is in play.

Various American municipalities, county governments and states may enact regulations concerning stray pets and wild animals, but the variables and exceptions are numerous.

It's my impression that these matters are left up to the individual city governments if there is one. Thousands of communities have no such animal control departments. Tens of millions of citizens live in unincorporated areas of the United States.

Many towns and cities that I'm aware of have pretty strict "no kill" policies on strays that are picked up by their "dog catcher." The variables even on those policies vary greatly. Most government-supported repositories for strays work under regulations that "adoptable" dogs and cats be neutered at the cost of the government prior to adoption by a new family.

The stray population in cities such as Dallas and New York, and I assume Rome and Naples, is an enormous problem involving the risk of rabies, diseases and attacks on humans and other animals, pun intended.

In my town, Allen, 25 miles north of Dallas (population 95,000), all cats and dogs must be registered with the city individually each year, $10 per cat or dog per year. The required vaccination records must be furnished at the time of registration and again annually as the animal's shots are renewed and updated. "Chipping," that is injecting a rice-sized computer chip under the skin of your pet, is about a $15 "add-on" and has an embedded number that shows me to be the owner and which tracks to my cell phone number. The hand-held scanners are similar to what is used at your local grocery on your can of beans. Virtually all city dog and cat jails have them as do all veterinarians.

As a senior citizen, I qualify for a discount to $3 per animal. Yippee. See the attached photo of my Beagle and cat. The dog was "bought" from another family who could not afford to keep him when he was about was about 45 days old. Our kitty was rescued from a "no-kill" rescue organization and was one of five in a litter of their mother who was rescued by a caring local lady who found that they'd been delivered under the woman's rose bush. The organization, which survives on donations, would have kept them all as "long as necessary." We now help this group financially.

Perhaps Eugenio might explain how Italy handles its population of stray animals. In looking up information about the issue of strays, I ran across a warning communications from Aviano, Italy where apparently there is a problem with stray dogs, cats, foxes, bats, skunks and raccoons with rabies. One 24-year-old American soldier even died from rabies as a result of a dog attack.

I also found a newspaper article from 2009 that mentions 500,000 stray dogs and 2.6 million stray cats in Italy, the deaths of several tourists from attacks by gangs of strays, and even as couple of children that were mauled to death in stray dog attacks. The head of the Association for the Defense of Animals and the Environment, Lorenzo Croce (Italy), said around 1,600 towns "systematically ignore" laws under which they are meant to round up strays and confine them in kennels.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/5013717/Italy-targets-stray-dogs-after-fatal-attack.html

Regarding Eugenio's concern regarding the wild animals that the Wildlife Services kills annually, in the same article that Eugenio quoted from a Wildlife Services spokeswoman, Lyndsay Cole, who responded that it kills birds at 800 airports nationwide so they won't gum up the works of airplanes. Cole said the department kills some animals that are a threat to endangered animals. Other animals, such as raccoons, are eliminated as part of the National Rabies Management Program.

JE comments:  I know how Savona deals with its surplus cats:  they move in with Eugenio Battaglia!  In an e-mail from a year or so ago, Eugenio told me about the "hospital" on his farm for homeless gatti.  WAIS HQ/Royal Oak currently hosts 2 and 1/2 felines, all of whom were rescued from shelters or the street.  (Our "half-cat" is the mostly feral Robert, who spent the brutal winter inside but has since repatriated himself to the back yard.  He clearly values freedom over comfort.)

WAISers argue incessantly about politics, religion, and culture, but we are big-hearted animal lovers all.  Here are Randy Black's critters.  Lucy is a newish addition to the Black household, but I fondly recall Blackie the Beagle from my visit to Allen several years ago.  What's that about "getting along like cats and dogs"?


Lucy (top) and Blackie Black, Allen, TX (photo Randy Black)


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  • Animal Control in Italy (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy 06/15/14 4:13 AM)
    I hope Randy Black (12 June) will forgive me for my confusion about US federal and local laws on animal control.

    In Italy, theoretically no stray animal should be killed. Dogs, in the hope that they will be adopted by some family, should be placed in special kennels, while cats may live free and if possible sterilized.  Feeding them is protected.


    In Savona the policy of sterilizing cats (but I feel sorry for them) started many years ago, and my wife was one of the very first volunteers.


    Again in Italy, all dogs should be registered with the insertion of a chip by a veterinary at the expenses of the owner, but no municipal or state fee is required.


    If JE will be able to pass by Savona he will see my home cats, the hospital for sick cats and the cat "colony" by the fence of the field awaiting food.  You will not believe it, but each one of them has a different personality.


    As far as I know, I have never heard about people in Italy dying of rabies. Nor have I heard of tourists attacked by gangs of stray dogs. However, there have been a couple of cases in the South of stray dogs attacking local people giving food to their animals in the field. There have also been cases of children attacked by family dogs.


    Anyway, as I said, theoretically the rules are almost perfect, but in some towns/villages (for sure 1600 is an exaggeration from Croce, the leader of one of the various minor animal-rights associations), things are not going according to the rules, and some people may even show cruelty at the expenses of the poor animals.


    About the US, I remember with great nostalgia my house in Mount Prospect, Illinois. It was in front of a park, and I could see beautiful squirrels and rabbits, cardinals and bluejays. Only a short distance away was a forest preserve with abundant beautiful wildlife. It was a real paradise. One of my Chief Engineers was transferred to Chicago too, and the same day he arrived in a house near by me that I had found for him, the first phone call he made to me was to scream that he had seen squirrels, rabbits and signs indicating "Ducks crossing." He was so amazed.


    Please do not destroy your paradise.


    JE comments:  It seems that the wildlife population of the US is healthier now than at any point in the last century, although this doesn't help some of our extinct species, such as the passenger pigeon.  Billions of them existed in the 19th century.  Martha, the last known member of her species, died in the Cincinnati Zoo almost 100 years ago, on 1 September 1914.  A sad milestone.  I proclaim September 1st "Martha Day" on WAIS.


    We like to focus on fracking and other high-profile environmental intervention, but one habitat threat is the US obsession with suburban sprawl.  Few places suffer more from this than my own city, Detroit, which now stretches fifty or more miles in every direction from its historical epicenter (except for the Canadian part to the south).  And the center of Detroit is full of vacant lots.

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