HICKS COLUMN: Ozzy was in the right spot
Ozzy is a lucky dog.
Today the 8-year-old black Lab is hanging out at the Charleston Animal Society, getting treated for his heartworms and waiting for an appointment to get neutered.
OK, so he may not consider that part so lucky — but it's better than the alternative.
Ozzy is mainly lucky because his owners put him up for adoption in Charleston County, where a lot of people care about the fate of homeless animals.
Every year Charleston shelters take in nearly 12,000 cats and dogs, which is far more than anyone can find homes for. Yet they are doing it.
Five years ago, the Animal Society had to euthanize two-thirds of the animals it took in. Today, only one-third meet that fate.
Joe Elmore, chief executive officer, says no healthy animal has been put down in the last year.
So even without his very public — and controversial — adoption saga, Ozzy likely would have found a good home.
A little blunt
Last week, Brenda Rindge reported on the Hildreth family's outrage at the response they received from Lowcountry Lab Rescue about Ozzy's pending trip to the shelter.
Amy Fabri, a volunteer for the rescue, suggested that they were irresponsible, and claimed “your dog will probably be euthanized and in the dumpster before you are out of the parking lot.”
A little blunt, perhaps, but Fabri was expressing the frustrations of many animal activists. Still, Elmore says that is not only untrue, it was out of line.
“(The Hildreths) did what all of us in the animal world tell them to do,” he says. “If they can't keep him, give him another chance.”
Which is better than turning an animal out on the side of the road, as some heartless people do.
There is a much more humane choice.
The animal control problem has been, ahem, neutered to some degree by local shelters' spay and neuter programs.
No animal goes out of local shelters without a snip, which cuts down on unwanted pets to a great degree.
But there are still a lot of animals out there looking for a home.
“People don't realize the enormity of the issue,” says Lauren Lipsey, manager of public relations and outreach at Pet Helpers. “The reality is that there are not enough homes.”
That leads to some tragic results. In South Carolina, it is still legal — and in places, practiced — to gas animals.
Here, when an animal is euthanized, it is done with an injection that kills them instantly. Which is about as humane as it gets.
Thankfully, that is happening far less than it used to because of the good work of animal shelters.
So Ozzy, like many other dogs and cats, will end up in a good home — not a Dumpster.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.