(File photo)

(File photo)

Letter to the editor: What does it mean to be a responsible pet owner?

There is much controversy these days regarding pet ownership, fair treatment of animals and the reporting of animals.

Is it necessary to report you own a python snake in a small community? Is it necessary to have more than two cats or three dogs? Should you pick up after your pet? Is that your responsibility as an owner to be mindful of how others feel about finding animal excrement on their front lawn or on a public walking path?

Animal shelters are inundated with kittens and rescues of all kinds it seems now more than ever and we read of animal cruelty in our media channels more often than we should. Animals have a heartbeat and when your loyal companion(s) greet you at the door everyday what questions do you ask yourself as an owner.

Can I afford their food? Can I sincerely afford to pay veterinary bills should they need help? What if my animal attacks a civilian?

My snake slithered out of his cage and is at large, non-venomous but may constrict? Do I report this? What defines the bylaws regarding the number of cats in our community destroying gardens and the toxifying effects it has on soil.

Where do we find common ground as you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Will it change those families with more than seven animals at their home in a rural community? Or in the city where a homeless person has a ferret on their shoulder?

Fleas arrived on rats which decades ago swiftly brought the Black Plague too sweep over continents destroying life in its wake.

Animals in hot cars during heat waves, as again we see more of the public eye being proactively vigilantes reporting to local authorities about pets in cars? How does an owner justify their actions? What is common sense and when does that no longer play a role?

Sure, cats catch mice, cats on a harness, dogs on leash or the laws of an off-leash dog park, do you take your animal for training, shots in case of a bite, animals in captivity?

Where do we draw the line? The recent media of the 700 reptiles found deceased in a house fire. If your animal is at large and fines are not paid, you as an owner could risk being lawfully penalized through the judicial system. Is my insurance covered when my house catches fire due to an iguana lamp?

Animals have a purpose in our lives for anything from food, resources, trauma support, protectors, and above all companionship. Think about the treatment you would want?

Just remember don’t flush the fish.

-Name withheld