Yesterday the Associated Press reported that the Arizona Humane Society euthanized a man’s cat when he could not afford its medical care. I’m not sure what is more of an issue; the fact that the man who “owned” the cat was a recovering heroin addict with absolutely no financial resources to care for a living, sentient being or the fact that the “Humane” Society killed it straight away without treating the injured animal and then adopting it out to a more appropriate owner. There are obviously multiple concerns regarding this unfortunate outcome.
First and foremost, let me say that I fully endorse and understand the role that pets play in regard to the psychological and physical well being of people, let alone as pet therapy assistants. It is one thing to have a recovering drug addict have access to pet therapy for psychological and therapeutic reasons. It is quite another situation to allow a recovering addict to own a pet without any financial recourse.The AP article did not address how the man acquired the cat, but obviously, someone enabled this man to become a pet owner. I am not saying that you need to have a trust fund before you should be able to own an animal, however, owning an animal is a privilege not to be taken lightly and it would stand to reason that you should be able to take care of yourself emotionally and financially before you embark on pet ownership. Certainly, it should not be overlooked that the man was responsible enough to bring the cat to what he considered a bona fide animal care facility. Perhaps that was his fatal mistake, which brings us to issue number two.
The Humane Society is not humane. It is an oxymoron. Anyone who doubts the hypocritical nature of this organization simply needs to perform a Wikipedia search on the Humane Society of the United States. The fact that the Arizona HS euthanized an apparently healthy cat for a cut or laceration which would have cost approximately $400 to treat is disgraceful. Based on the AP report, what makes it worse is that the staff supposedly told the man that because he could not pay for treatment, if he surrendered the cat, it would be treated and put in foster care. Instead, it was euthanized.
The euthanization of this pet should prompt outrage, especially since it occurred at the “humane society”. At our facility, we are consistently faced with pet owners with financial difficulties. We do not kill their pets when they have a cut. There are multiple options to successfully treat an injured pet and be compensated appropriately in a timely manner. When an owner truly cannot pay for an animal’s injuries and the pet can be saved and go on to lead a happy, healthy life, we work with enough responsible rescue organizations and adoption agencies that when we say it will be treated and placed in foster care for adoption we actually mean it. And we don’t call ourself the “Humane Society”.