JW: Getting back to where the problem comes from. How do we fix this now?
RG: I would love to see shelters across America start a stray feral dog program. Usually at almost all shelters across the country they’re destroyed.
JW: How come?
RG: They’re deemed unadoptable. At some shelters, hell, they’ll deem an ear infection makes you unadoptable and they’ll destroy you. That’s here in our own backyard at the Humane Society. So were the only shelter that does this. That’s why I travel a lot and I try to get the word out and I try to get more organizations involved because the first thing to solve any problem I think is awareness. This problem is pandemic I cant even say we need to spay and neuter. That’s just a given to me. Its not even, its not even a solution in my mind. In my mind its awareness. Once society sees this as a problem and starts working with the communities to give them the resources that they need that’s where it starts.
JW: What resources and what parts of the communities?
RG: Even a vet. Or access to a shelter. At least most shelters have education but if you notice, most shelters are built no where near where the problem is. They’re built where the donor base is. That’s really getting to make it a community effort. Its complex to say the least. Of course, spay and neuter would be great but in the neighborhoods I go into I would have to pay them twenty bucks or more to get them to do it. You can offer free spay and neuter all you want and they wouldn’t take you up on it. You would have to make it worth their while in the bad, bad areas where the problems are spreading. Even if its a six-pack of beer it would do more than offering free spay. Its getting the leaders, the church leaders and the civic leaders in those areas involved too so they get people to understand that it can also become a very dangerous situation like Rodney McCallister who was mauled to death. It can become a dangerous situation.
JW: What is it about these neighborhoods that they’re not interested in spay and neuter?
RG: They’re not interested because they cant even feed themselves. They feel that the animals in the zoo eat better than they do. I’ve had someone say that to me. I’ve been in these areas with a TV show and you’ll hear residents come out screaming, Why don’t nobody care about us people? Nobody cares about us.” And I have to admit I feel a little bit guilty out there rescuing these dogs when I’m seeing a lot of people who feel like they need to be rescued. I always, and there are such well-funded charities and government programs, I ignore as much as I can the human element of it because I see so much of the animal element of it.
JW: Tell me about that. When these people are coming out. Why do they have the dogs? Whats making them keep them? They could just drop them off at the shelter.
RG: Well, they don’t have the transportation to drop them off anywhere. That’s one problem. But also, they see them as property. They would get just as upset with me taking a TV set in the alley as they would dog in the alley. There’s no difference. A dog is property. They see it as a status symbol. Depending on the breed, they see it as a way to protect what they do have. Some of them even tie them up to their meters so their meters cant be read. Or of they’re being evicted. I’ve seen it all.
JW: So how do we break past that, as a society?
RG: As a society I think that we need to rebuild these communities. I approach it like when in these areas, I’m doing this to help you. I’m trying to make your streets safer. I’m trying to make your community nicer. And they do, you’d be surprised how many thank yous I get if I explain it to them on a level they understand. I’m not just here for the animals; I’m here for you too. Another thing that we do is we drop, we give dog food. We put it on their doorstep. Some of them depend on us for their dog food. Its really building relationships. Once you build those relationships then you can start hammering in on spay and neutering. I tell you, its just like with a scared dog, they’re not going to listen to you, and I don’t blame them. They’ve lived in that cycle of crime and violence for so long. To break the cycle, you have to start at the very basis, which is deep communication.
Drop back by tomorrow for more of the Randy Grim interview!