How many pets must die?
N.C. legislature has opportunity to eliminate a senseless slaughter
By James T. Crouse, a Raleigh lawyer who served on the commission
appointed by the legislature to study the pet overpopulation problem
in North Carolina:
The North Carolina legislature has the opportunity this session to
make a statement about itself and our state by passing the Animal
Protection Act, a step toward ending the senseless creation and
destruction of millions of dogs and cats.
I listened to hours of testimony before our committee that revealed
the horrors of the current situation and offered ideas on how to deal
with it. The subcommittee I co-chaired developed the idea for the
increase in the pet food fee to finance low-cost spay-neuter options
and improve shelter conditions across the state.
We worked hard to create a bill that isn’t all things to all people,
but moves us giant steps forward and could, if implemented
effectively, eliminate the problem.
I also listened for alternate solutions and heard none — at least
none that were realistic. Absent from the debate were those voices
who now criticize the bill — the Pet Food Institute and the hunters’
groups that suddenly rail against not only our product but also the
process. (It must be noted that not all hunters oppose this bill).
Not only were these now-critical groups absent during our weeks of
work, but they were also absent all the years while the problem grew.
It seems to me that if they really cared about the problem they would
have been there way before now.
Those of us who toiled are now accused of having “agendas.” What are
they? I’ve seen no evidence of any hidden agendas, but if they are
there, they should be brought into the light by those who say they
exist. Otherwise the complaints of “agendas” are nothing more than
1950′s scare tactics, which I had hoped we outgrew long ago.
Now the opportunity for progress is in our legislators’ hands. Will
they take steps to remove our state’s name from the group that leads
the nation in killing unwanted dogs and cats — 727 per day, 30 per
hour — or will they let this opportunity pass? It all comes down to
whether we take seriously our God-given responsibility to have
dominion over the animals and do what is right, or we shrink from
that responsibility and let the senseless impregnating, birthing and
Will future generations say that in this hour in history a group of
decent and caring North Carolinians finally fixed a situation that
was horribly broken, or will they say we turned our backs because we
were overly concerned about two cents more for a can of dog food?
It is good to recall the words of the song that reminded us 30 years
ago that in this world the beasts (and the children) have no voice
and they have no choice. It is, men and women of North Carolina, up
I’ve decided to dedicate every bit of effort I have to get this bill passed. I realize that I have NO clout in this state or any other, but I can’t sit back and do nothing.