The other day, I found myself watching Disney’s new version of Lady and the Tramp. I have no appreciation for Disney’s portrayal of the dogcatcher in any of their movies. Throughout the movie, the dogcatcher was trying to convince everyone (including himself) that in removing all of the “dangerous” street dogs that he was providing a valuable service.
The dogcatcher’s view on street dogs reminded me of a time in my life in which I was asked to oversee the transition of a government contract from one humane organization to another. The first humane organization has carried the contract for many years and refused to work with local dog rescues; and as a result, they have an 80 percent euthanasia rate.
Several of the dog groups got together and created a new humane organization and submitted a bid for the government contract. When they were awarded the contract, they were required to bring in an experienced director to oversee the operation; that is where I come in.
Over a brief period of time, the euthanasia declined sharply. We were eager to tout our success. Throughout my employment, I received numerous calls from the board of directors of the first humane organization lambasting our adoptions, convinced that 90 percent of the stray dogs were not worth saving. To be honest, I was dumbfounded by the idea that these people could be so damn stupid to think that 90 percent of the dogs were a danger to the public. For whatever reasons, they needed to believe that fallacy to justify the killing of the dogs under their watch.
I’d like to say that the first organization was an insignificant organization, but it wasn’t. It had a national following. It always amazed me that an organization could have such a national following when their mission was to kill off all of the stay dogs in their community. Not every stray dog is heroic like Tramp, but you can bet that most of the dogs are worthy of finding new homes.
I am happy to report that the first organization has found its new mission and is doing great things now, in their community. It is a testament that our profession has evolved well.