Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wrong in Every Conceivable Way

The city of Helena-West Helena, Arkansas, has closed its animal control shelter and released the dogs held there into the St. Francis National Forest. This is apparently seen as a good thing by the director of the Humane Society of the Delta, Gloria Higginbotham, who said the animals were "better off" fending for themselves. Apparently, some of the released animals were sick, and some were dangerous, having already bitten city animal control officers.

How in the world can the Mayor of Helena-West Helena think that releasing dangerous animals into the woods is a good idea? How is this a good solution for the public, the wild animals living in the forest, or for the animals themselves? Has the mayor considered what would the legal ramifications would be if one of these animals attacks or kills a child? What about the pets and livestock of persons who live in or near the National Forest? What is going to keep the released dogs from starving to death, from contracting rabies, or from being hit by cars? How ignorant must a director of the Humane Society be to think that abandoning animals in the forest is somehow beneficial to the animals?

Feral dogs are a huge problem over the United States and the world. They attack livestock and pets, spread disease, destroy native wildlife, and attack and even kill people. Starving free-ranging dogs are known to resort to cannibalism. Feral dogs breed with wild coyotes and wolves, disrupting the genetics of wild populations.

Please don't misunderstand. I'm a firm believer in kindness to animals, but the city cannot release dogs that it knows to be dangerous into the woods. If the city is unwilling or unable to find shelter for the animals, there is only one possible solution, euthanasia, and the city has failed in its duties by avoiding it.

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