Another case of EEE was confirmed in Wisconsin. Remember to vaccinate!
has ruled that dogs cannot be used to hunt wolves in Wisconsin. The DNR will uphold the ruling, but hasn't re-written any rules yet, and is planning on going ahead with the wolf hunt in October.
There was a neat article for horse lovers and Packer fans alike in a Milwaukee paper recently; click here to read it.
Now then, on to the part where I rant:
Richland Area Rescue worries me. Nay, angers me.
Although they don't appear to be actively breeding animals, their behavior raises several red flags.
-Not all animals are spayed/neutered/gelded
-Not all animals appear to have basic vaccinations
-Until recently, the kennels were primitive, with dirt floors
-Some animals don't have minimal basic training
...and other sketchy stuff.
Let me give you an example. I was tipped off about RAR when a watchful horse rescuer emailed this Petfinder ad to me:
|Click to enlarge|
1) Why is this pony not gelded?! Especially when they admit "he should be gelded?!" RAR, you're a rescue, do your damn job!
2) He's been "sat on" but "isn't broke." Okay, who sat on an unbroke mini? A kid? Great, awesome child endangerment. An adult? Awesome, great way to permanently damage an animal. Let's skip straight past my usual argument of "two year old horses should NOT be made to carry weight," and go on to a rant about minis and "being broke."
Let's take a look at some other sketchy stuff at RAR:
This horse isn't guaranteed sound-- she has problems in her whole back end. RAR doesn't know what's wrong with her, because apparently they don't want to pay a real vet to find out, but after a cursory look from a vet tech, they guess she'll be okay for light riding with a light rider. This sounds totally safe.
This mare looks a bit too ribby in her pictures, and her colt is 5 months old, but "hasn't had anything done with him." Yikes, when do they plant to start halter breaking? When he's big enough to really hurt someone?
This pony is unbroke, but is being advertised as, "she could make a great birthday present for a little kid." I shall now repeat the obligatory mantra: "Animals should not be given as presents." Shouldn't a rescue know not to use this as a selling point?
...and there not-fixed puppies up for adoption without all their shots, unclear adoption prices, no mention of a return-to-shelter requirement when a pet doesn't work out, etc etc.
I think the argument could be made that I'm mostly nit-picking here. By themselves, each of these complaints might be petty. And even put together, they don't add up to actual abuse. It might be a little rough-and-ready, back-woods, poor quality type of rescue, but they're trying, right? And there are certainly camps of people who believe that rescues who help many animals a little are just as good as rescues who help a few animals a lot.
However, I cannot and will not forgive any "rescue" or "shelter" for not spaying/neutering/gelding animals in their care. Animals wind up in shelters because they are unwanted. How do we have unwanted animals? Largely, because we've allowed too many of them to breed.And sending an unfixed animal out the door is an invitation for it to breed.
Richland Area Rescue does say, "We are working towards having all dogs and cats spayed and or neutered before adoption." They also have a one-page contract, part of which states that any animal adopted needs to be spayed/neutered/gelded within 30 days of adoption. But to me, these are flimsy mechanisms. RAR should just act responsibly, dammit.
Interestingly, there is another rescue in Richland Center: Ocooch Mountain Humane Society. They have a much nicer website, a bimonthly low-cost spay-and-neuter program, regular fundraising events, a much more thorough adoption application, and all their animals are fixed and have all their shots. Ocooch is still small; they only have a facility for cats (dogs are all privately fostered) but you can tell there have a quality operation.
So why is it that RAR has gotten the Richland County contract to take in strays, not the better-run Ocooch? I'm guessing RAR underbid Ocooch for the contract. That's a shame. If you're from the Richland Center area, please take a moment to tell your city government to spend your tax dollars at a higher quality facility that really cares for animals. (Click the link and then scroll down for contact info for city officials.)
I contacted Ocooch to ask them about the county contract as well as their operation versus RAR's, but didn't hear back by press time*.
*Update: never ever heard back from them.