I hate waste; it makes me crazy. When I hit the wrong command on my printer and get more copies than I need, I feel like I’ve personally taken another tree down needlessly – so I use the front, back, top, bottom and margins of every piece of paper possible. A number of people have sat at restaurant tables with me marveling at my ability to down the leftovers on everybody else’s plate. Why? Otherwise, they’re headed for the dumpster – and I can’t abide by that. At work I’ve got a continual question running through my head: Is this the best use of this time and this money to save lives – either right now or for the long haul? If not, move on!
Like I said, I hate waste. So I thought my head was going to pop off when I heard about the recent incident in Austin. Austin shelters have been taking animals from Williamson County and Bastrop County in order to assist those local agencies in making room for animals in urgent need because of the terrible fires. Houston SPCA, in turn, stepped up to lend a hand by taking animals from Austin. Houston SPCA sent their own staff and vehicle to Austin – and even agreed to guarantee placement for those animals or return them to the Austin agency after the emergency passed. But local antagonists raised such a protest about Houston SPCA’s involvement (because they don’t approve of sending animals to an agency with a lower “save rate”) that the support effort had to be abandoned.
Really? An area of more than 45 square miles has burned to the ground, more than 1,000 homes have been lost and this is how some people are squandering our resources in an emergency? What a waste! Dozens of cats and dogs could have already been in new homes by now. And staff and volunteers in Austin agencies could have provided even more support to animals and people in their own community and the communities directly impacted by the fires.
This rescue effort would have provided resources where they were needed. Instead, fuel and valuable time were squandered. It could have sparked a new level of relationship and cooperation to pave the way for more progress for animals amongst all of the people and agencies involved. That opportunity? Squandered. Instead – among other things – the public got to experience animal people “fighting like cats and dogs.” How many more animals will suffer because people who might have been recruited to the cause during this crisis (and kept on for the long haul) were turned off by this behavior?
This kind of antagonism is not smart, it’s certainly not strategic, and it’s a criminal waste of resources – time, money and attention – that the animals desperately need. And on a personal note, if my home and family are ever in the direct path of a major disaster, I sure hope there won’t be a flock of antagonists blocking the bus that’s headed our way to help us.
“Time to Expand OUR Moral Imaginations”
Photo courtesy of Austin Humane Society