Apparently so. A headline on the front page of The Rathdrum Star immediately caught my attention. 'I'm On It!' Lack of Dog Pound Gets Police Chief's Attention.
It ate at me all night and all morning. According to the article the problem in Rathdrum is they have no place to house stray dogs. The Coeur d'Alene Shelter is closed and Post Falls will only take dogs in an emergency situation. No mention was made of the Kootenai County Humane Society. So I decided to make some phone calls.
I called the Humane Society first only to find they don't open until noon. That told me something right there. Next I called Tom Burnett, editor/publisher of the Star to get some background and followed up by talking with Police Chief Kevin Fuhr. It was a good conversation though a frustrating one for both of us.
You see, he loves dogs too. But he has a problem that needs addressed now and it grows as Rathdrum grows. Spring is here and pets get out, have unwanted litters and/or are abandoned. What to do? Rathdrum is not a wealthy community. Funding is not available for unending maintenance of unwanted animals. Read "no kill". The volunteer base to care for these animals or to do fund raising is as minimal as local salaries.
I'm an advocate of "no kill" facilities. I thought for a long time if cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix could make them a success so could Kootenai County. I'm no longer sure that is the case. If the Humane Society (no kill) is at capacity and shelters (kill) are closing, why has the idea of a regional facility not been pursued more aggressively? Why won't the communities involved pool their resources and come up with a solution? What is to be done as growth continues? Take them out in the woods and shoot them??
Well, there is a bit of that mentality here. How do you change that culture? The culture that considers animals as "property" to do with what you please. Inconvenient? Kill it. How do you turn them into responsible pet owners?
It's a double edged sword. Those who can do something about it are dragging their feet for whatever reason. Those who don't care really don't care. And one more time it's the animals who suffer the consequences.
Yes. I used to think it would change. Then I thought it could change. Now I don't think it will nor can. For that the people who own or merely care about animals must have the will. I don't see it and it's a far less desirable place to live because of it.