A pet is a lifelong commitment

Regarding the May 21 Kyodo article, “Destroying pets at Kochi animal center pains staff“: Not to mention how much it pains the animals being put down. Sasano Nomura (the Small Animal Management Center staffer quoted in the article) is lucky that she feels depression. It’s a good sign that she still has a conscience and is not a “brute” as her neighbors sometimes suggest.

Her place of work should be called “the Small Animal Termination Center.” I don’t blame the staff for this wholesale slaughter of dogs and cats. No, the apathetic public and the horrible greed of the pet industry, which supports those vile “puppy mills,” are the offenders. How many shoppers casually walk into a pet store, spy a cute puppy, hastily purchase it and then unceremoniously drop the poor animal off at a euthanasia center like the one in Kochi just a year or two later — when the animal is no longer a bundle of joy or proves to be too inconvenient.

Wake up, folks. These are sentient beings that deserve our protection and love. Once you purchase or assume responsibility for that dog or cat, the daily care of it should be a solemn duty. If you are a devout Buddhist, you should know that all life is sacred. These animals are not toys to be discarded when the “fun” is over.

Have you ever taken a pet dog for a walk in a snowstorm? I have. Or in a typhoon? I have. Hey, dogs and cats are not here to entertain us. If someone adopts a dog or cat, it is a lifelong contract. If I was back in the United States, I’d be writing the same essay.

If a pet owner’s circumstances suddenly change, the pet should be accommodated with a healthy life-sustaining alternative plan — not dumped off at an animal “management” center. How we humans love our euphemisms. If the sign on the building read “Pet Dog and Cat Killing Center,” more pet owners might have second thoughts about their disposal method. Every prefecture in Japan should have an ARK animal rescue center like the one in Kobe.

How many dogs have been put down or destroyed simply because they got “too big”? While Japan put down 175,000 dogs and cats in fiscal 2011, give or take a few hundred, Germany put down zero. I learned this fact when I took my Corgi to the vet last month for her annual immunization shots.

Why should we care so much about some dumb animal? Because the compassion we show such animals reflects deeply on the nature of our society.

robert mckinney
otaru, hokkaido

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.