Voucher program should encourage responsible pet ownership


“It’s a people problem because people are not going to solve their problems,” said Shirley Cook, a Midlander who wanted to influence the debate over increasing the city’s funding for the sterilization and sterilization of animals.

In short, she identified the problem that is forcing taxpayers to spend nearly $ 300,000 to tackle it – this year. I wrote “deal with” because even after all the speakers in the public hearing are done, Midland still doesn’t have a plan to fix the issue.

Those who voted for more funding have made it clear that killing animals – especially cats – is not acceptable. It would be difficult to find someone who does not agree with this. Yet they have committed what is a common sin in government today, asking for money but have no strategy to deal with a problem. We’ve seen this type of thinking in council rooms on more issues than the vouchers program, but it was the high profile issue of the day.

So what’s the solution that Cook alluded to but really got lost? The voucher program intended to help cover the costs of sterilization and sterilization has been hijacked. You see, when the program was created, it was intended to promote responsible pet ownership. Residents who wanted to neuter and neuter their pets were rewarded – or at least prompted – to do the right thing.

Then, at some point, responsible pet ownership became secondary. Instead, the main focus was on death prevention, especially keeping cats unowned, crawling and crawling, and prowling around city neighborhoods. These cats are now called “community cats” because they are fed by those who enjoy the feeling of doing something positive for an animal but without taking on the responsibility of owning a pet.

And in doing so, these Midlanders fail their fellow citizens just as they failed the felines. Midland cannot be a community, where we welcome this type of misconduct from people who say they care about animals. And while the efforts of Cat Fighters and Fix West Texas are noble, just letting the status quo continue doesn’t make our community any better.

I have to admit that I come to this debate looking at the situation through the eyes of a dog lover. But I have never been able to see my bias lead to a result where we capture a stray dog, neuter or neuter that dog, do a rabies vaccine, and then release the animal to the neighborhood where it is found. This is what we allow wild cats or “community cats”. I’m not sure if Midland has turned into a larger version of a person overwhelmed by a house full of cats, but we’re not that far away. When we justify our behavior and spending other people’s money by stating that it is okay to release an unowned animal into the neighborhood, who have we helped? The inhabitants of this neighborhood? Nope. Can the animal fend for itself and live its life avoiding predators? Difficult to see that this is the case.

If anyone wants a pet, they are free to go to the Midland Animal Shelter and find a lifelong companion. I will be happy that my tax money helps this. But there wasn’t a single person in the boardroom who could guarantee that this cat-wrestling program would need less money anytime soon. Until we see a plan, our city leaders should reject pushing more money to an unsolved problem.

Our community should remind our leaders to invest in responsible pet ownership, not what this trap and release program accomplishes.

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