We have a feral cat problem in northern Idaho and they've been breeding like rabbits. We have also had a series of exchanges in the "letters to the editor" section of the local paper that has shed the veterinary medicine community in less than flattering light.
One side of the issue has portrayed the vets as a heartless bunch unwilling to provide services unless the client can pay. The other side has defended them citing the fact that they are businesses and have to cover their expenses. I certainly understand the latter and have empathy for the first. A lecture about the responsibilities of pet ownership would be futile when a pet may well be the only companionship one has in a lonely life.
It's a situation with no easy answer. We're fortunate that we are able to afford the care being given to Bacchus. But then we knew when we got him, this is the reality of having a life entrusted to you. As to the suggestion that the vets are uncaring and strictly bottom line oriented, I have trouble with that one. Unfortunately the stories as written could not be verified as to the reality of what occurred versus the reality of the frustrated pet owner's point of view.
I can say this however. Spay Day USA 2009 just wrapped up this past Sunday. Some 260 feral and stray cats, with the help of 70 some volunteers, were rounded up and taken to local animal clinics for spaying and neutering. Eight clinics took part, including the one where Bacchus has gone since we moved here nearly nine years ago. $26,000 worth of procedures were done. The event was organized by the clinics. This does not indicate an uncaring, insensitive, dollar oriented profession to me.
Still there will be many unwanted litters being born throughout the summer months and many will perish. This event is but a drop in the bucket but a very important drop. It's just like having a no kill Humane Society. It can and is being done. The culture in this rural area is contrary to life when it comes to bothersome animals but it heartens me to see the steps being taken.
I put my hands together for all the animal welfare people who make these events happen. As for the vets, at least the ones I know personally and those I've heard about from friends, not a one is in the business for the bucks. I doubt you could find more caring, compassionate people anywhere.
Those who defend them by pointing out their business obligations have their point. The other to be taken is that if you're going to have a pet, you have a responsibility to budget for the bad times as well as the good. I know. It's tough. There is no way to budget love or the need for it.