COMMENT: How can we abandon the pets on death row?

CANINES have been a constant part of my life, all of them enjoying reasonably long, happy lives. So much so that, despite being around the half-way mark of my own mortality, I've only just welcomed dog number four into my heart.

This year-old bitzer from Happy Paws, whose full spectrum of characteristics is on display daily, ensuring you are constantly reminded that despite the commitment and responsibility that comes with raising a pup in your "pack", the rewards and unconditional love you receive back are ten-fold.

Those four dogs were and still are defining markers of my life and have had a big furry paw in shaping and educating me about human nature.

And while pontificating isn't my preferred route to get a message across, it feels unavoidable on this occasion.

The situation at the Grafton Pound this week has been nothing short of horrific. The staff are devastated to have their hands forced by the tsunami of pet surrendering that has occurred over the past few days.

How can a helpless creature which was one minute bonding with its family now become so disposable that it is discarded to death row to suit one's festive plans?

There's no point in glossing over this - it's reprehensible.

Pets aren't temporary playthings; they're living, breathing creatures that for some reason unbeknown to me, still look up to us humans despite the lot they are delivered in life.

And if Sally wasn't out there at Happy Paws doing her bit every day, there would be a lot more of this behaviour on the Clarence community's record card.

Mahatma Gandhi summed up this societal blight succinctly when he said: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated". And this week, Clarence Valley, we suck at it.

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