Feral kittens on a Berryville street
There's a young dog who lives over on Ada Street in Berryville. He weeps and weeps all night long. I can hear him at 3:00 AM, and at 4:00 AM, and throughout the day. I suppose his owners got him when he was a puppy, and cute. Now, he's just a mutt, chained in the backyard and ignored; he is lonely and he certainly isn't cute anymore, just noisy. Thank goodness dogs go to heaven since so many owners make their pet's lives hell on earth.
Hundreds of cats face similar abandonment in Berryville, but at least they're not chained up. Instead, these feral creatures wander from handout to handout and use every flower bed and vegetable garden as toilets; our yards stink with cat urine and feces and the hundreds of dollars we spend on mulch each year goes to waste. It is awfully discouraging.
Well meaning people and organizations like the Good Shepherd Humane Society and Go East Young Dog do important work rescuing abandoned and maltreated pets, and they raise and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in time and money to make life a bit better for them. But they can't do it alone: it is time for city government to step up to the plate and do its part.
One place to begin is to provide better training, better supervision, and adequate resources for animal control personnel. Another is to develop and enforce strategies to assure that dogs are licensed: of the probable hundreds of dogs within city limits only about 50 are licensed. That isn't good enough, especially since law enforcement is required to spend countless (expensive) hours each year chasing down stray and nuisance dog reports.
City government and animal advocacy groups, like Good Shepherd and Go East, need to work together and collaborate on locating and spending money for spraying and neutering clinics. Better and coordinated public education would also be helpful--but only if city government has the will to play it's essential enforcement role.