|Barked: Fri Jan 27, '12 5:06am PST |
|I tend to be of the belief that if you find a dog with no primary or secondary ID, make a reasonable effort to find the owner, then make a financial and emotional investment in its care, it is YOUR dog and the prior owners do not have too much of a leg to stand on legally or morally.
I would take these matters on a case-by-case basis, of course, but to be perfectly honest, the owner is often at fault when a pet goes missing and isn't quickly reunited with them. Having a collar and tags dramatically increases the chance of animals being reunited with their owners. Having a microchip only further increases this chance. Individuals who are not providing either/or are not taking their pets' safety seriously as far as I'm concerned.
I live in the south, where the stray problem is seriously on par with some third world nations in rural areas. I see easily a dozen free roaming dogs, some owned and some not, every day on the ride to work. I have picked up two dogs off of the road: one, an emaciated, terrified stray who was in a high way median eating a dog carcass (Hotch, the dog pictured), another a little dachshund mix on the railroad tracks. It was very obvious that Hotch was abused and never had an owner that cared for him.
Sam, the other dog, was friendly, well fed, affectionate, and I thought for SURE someone had to be looking for her. So for months, I looked for her owners, who weren't looking for her. And then I discovered that she had terrible teeth, heartworm disease, horrible parasitic infestations - the whole nine yards. Suddenly I wasn't at all interested in finding her former owners, because even if the fed and petted her, they did not provide for her basic care needs. And if they came around wanting her back? I'd tell them to repay me the thousand plus dollars in vet bills it took to get her healthy. I have a funny feeling they wouldn't pay up.
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