|Is your dog or cat suffering identity crisis? We have a simple, free way to cure that
Hearing there is an epidemic of dogs and cats in Rohnert Park and Cotati suffering very curable identity crises, the Animal Shelter League jumped in with a simple cure – a free nametag!
It’s amazing how many people get angry when a lost pet is brought into the shelter and they are expected to pay a fee to redeem their pet. They don’t understand the finder was just trying to save the animal from being hit by a car or otherwise hurt, and that being in a shelter is a safe alternative to being left out on the street. What people don’t realize is most of these good Samaritans would be only too happy to return the animal to their homes – if only they had a way to do just that. Sadly, the majority of pets lost do not have a tag or even a collar on – we only get in freshly bathed dogs, didn’t you know? At least according to the people who do think to come into the shelter to look for their errant pet. And, though they haven’t seriously tried to, these people say it’s impossible to leave a collar on a cat.
If shelters are serious about improving their return-to-owner statistics – and we are – then we need to get busy making sure every dog and cat in our jurisdiction has a ‘ticket home’ on his or her collar.
That is, of course, an ID tag and a backup to that, which is a microchip.
Currently, only 8 percent of lost cats brought into our shelter are reclaimed by their parents. Even though that is almost four times the national average, it is nothing to brag about. Dogs, on the other hand have a 60 percent reclaim rate – much better but still with lots of room for improvement. There are two main reasons for that statistical difference. One is many dogs wear collars and have licenses or microchips. The second is an attitude difference – both on the part of the public and the owners.
If you see a dog wandering around your street, most people know it’s lost and will try to catch him and contact the shelter right away. Not so for cats. They are thought to be more independent and free spirits. No one bats an eye when a cat wanders by, unless it is obviously thin or limping. It takes a while for someone to become aware or concerned about the presence (or absence) of a cat. We hear over and over again, “he’s always come home before.” So the search doesn’t even begin for a week or two. We’ve got to change this mindset – especially as we become more and more urbanized. Cats are no better able to take care of themselves left alone outside than a dog or a young child. And neighbors are often annoyed by cats that use their yard as a litter box and antagonize their pets. But that’s a whole separate issue.
Right now, we will concentrate on helping these wandering cats (and dogs) have a way back home. Stop by the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter and get a free ID tag for your pet (just show current ID with a RP or Cotati address). There’s no reason why every stray that comes in shouldn’t go right back home. We’ll give them a free ticket home and cure them of their identity crises.
Registration is now open for the third annual Mutt Strut. Grab your leash and your dog (or just walk yourself) and help raise funds for the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. Sponsored by the Animal Shelter League of RP, the event will be on Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the RP Community Center. Register at their Web site: animalshelterleaguerp.org. The first 300 registered walkers that meet the minimum $50 in pledges will get goodie bags and more. There will be prizes for the top fundraisers.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.