The purpose of the poem is to raise awareness about the terrible fact that year after year millions of animals, mostly dogs, but also many cats and other animals are put to death in the many, many pounds and shelters everywhere. It is common that four of every five dogs that are brought into such government facilities are put to death.
And, more importantly, the poem implores that people must do what it takes to bring an end to it. It suggests that people "shoulder to shoulder" exerting their strength together can influence the passage of laws that will curb the carnage.
CALL TO ACTION (This is an all-states, all-nations appeal.)
The deliberate killing of millions of innocent creatures is reprehensible.
Laws to address aspects of the situation have been enacted. But any major impacts upon the problems are yet to be realized.
In large measure, what new and good laws there are find little compliance. Awareness has been growing, and there are those
who are responsible regarding their pets. People have to understand that having a pet has to be a real and, generally
speaking, a life-long commitment for the lifetime of the pet. They have to understand a pet is not a toy to be obtained at
the whim of a child or a foolish adult, only to be discarded upon another whim when the novelty wears off, or the commitment
is too much, or ...
What is needed are requirements that impose responsible action upon people whether their actions are naturally responsible or
Ownership of an automobile has exceedingly far more restrictions than "ownership" of a pet. Actually, that
consideration is an inkling of what needs to change regarding the regulation of "ownership" of pets.
[Note: "ownership" is in quotes because it is more appropriate, when considering pets and other animals, to think in
terms or responsible stewardship. In law, however, the terms "owner" and "ownership" are the commonly used terms.]
So, as the poem says: "Shoulder to shoulder, bolder and bolder!" You can join with others to make the changes happen.
What is needed is the involvement of many people, rather than the relative few who have initiated change and kept the
pressure on. The fact is, political leaders and law makers, for the most part, are not aware of the realities, and are
oblivious to them. Something has to happen to get their attention.
That something is many people becoming mindful of the depth and dismal nature of the
situation; and not only that, but also taking unified action to make lawful change happen.
If you want to help, send your name to: email@example.com
(a special e-mail account exclusively for this
purpose), and a way will be found for you to help. It may be just writing letters. Or, it may be your physical presence at
hearings on proposed new laws. Etc. The point is: if you, and many others, are willing to make a commitment of an hour, a
day, or more out of your life; positive change will happen.
GETTING THE ATTENTION OF LAWMAKERS
In general, lawmakers are no more aware of this situation as other members of the public. What lawmakers have been seeing is a handful (if that many) of advocates (often professionals who tell the lawmakers that
they represent some portion of their constituency). That's fine, and it has produced results in some cases. However, when
the issue involves regulation concerning the behavior of people in the norm, that makes success more difficult to achieve. For
that, substantial strength needs to be shown by a deluge of letters and packed hearing rooms. Then, we will have the
attention of lawmakers.
STRATEGIES OF ACTION
Every one of us needs to know about the issues, and we need to press lawmakers to respond appropriately.
Opinions and comments alone are insufficient. They are no substitute for action based upon actual
knowledge and understanding.
The poem is about taking action and doing something about the expedient killing of dogs, cats, and other animals in pounds and
There can be a "new beginning" (in addition to what's already been done, not necessarily contrary to it) to let
law makers know that their constituents demand an end to the killing, and it can be accomplished by enforced regulation of
[Note: The aim is to prevent people from grossly irresponsible actions with regard to their animals' stewardship
requirements by developing new law to regulate "ownership" in a way
that is strict, but considerate of all, except those who would persist in grossly irresponsible and careless actions with
regard to their animal. Hopefully, with many people participating, there will be a lot of ideas coming from various perspectives.]
PRELIMINARY SUGGESTED SPECIFICS
Just suggesting that there are ways to solve the problem is not as persuasive as giving examples. So here (following below)
are eight reasonable specifics about dogs (regulations regarding cats and other animals would necessarily be somewhat
different, but also serious) that come immediately to mind as things that would address the problems: (An analogy with
keeping and operating a vehicle is a good reference.)
A dog "owner" must:
[BE KNOWLEDGEABLE] about the requirements of caring for the dog
(ownership test and license - like for the owner and operator of a vehicle),
[It's not difficult, with a little thought, to realize why this is sensible; and also to realized why many would oppose
it. That's why organized political strength is necessary.]
[BE TRACEABLE] from the micro-chip record of any dog owned (currently or in the past; and government must require and
enforce the micro-chipping of every dog, and every "conveyance" of "ownership" must be a matter of public
record (like the licensing and transfer of ownership of a motor vehicle), [This will be looked at cross-wise by some, but the
analogy to the necessity of the license plate should alleviate fears motivated by concepts of "Big Brother" or the
"Mark of the Beast". Animals must be connectible to their "owners", present and past. Arrangements can be
made for inexpensive micro-chipping for $10 or less, or at no cost through charitable funding of special programs.]
[Note: Government already uses a portion of its resources, in funding and manpower, to perpetuate the rounding-up and killing
of unwanted dogs; a status quo that just goes on and on. As government would gain control by being able to match dogs to
"owners", the number of dogs coming into animal control facilities would drop. There would be less drain on revenue,
and licensing fees and fines for violations would cover the funding of record processing and enforcement. At the end of a
gradual shift away from "catch and kill" to administration of "ownership", government would have no drain on
tax acquired revenue. Also, with far fewer dogs to have to physically deal with, shelters operated by animal control agencies
would be down-sized, consolidated, or eliminated. Government officials should find these ideas attractive.]
[KEEP THE DOG FROM UNINTENTIONAL BREEDING] with a heavy fine for an "owner" of an un-spayed female or un-neutered
male found at large,
[BE RESPONSIBLE TO KEEP THE DOG IN GOOD HANDS] and if a dog must be given up: the "owner" bears the responsibility of
finding a licensed new "owner" with appropriate intentions, and if unable to do so, he shall turn the dog over to a
humane charitable organization (not animal control) that is equipped to care for unwanted animals, and provide them with
funding necessary to care for the dog until a new home is found, unless financial hardship can be shown [Except for amenable
transfer of "ownership", giving up a pet may result in suspension of the "ownership" licensing privilege.],
[NEVER ABANDON ANY DOG] or suffer serious consequences under the state criminal code for intentional abandonment.
[ABOLISH "PUPPY MILLS"] prohibit places where dogs are "mass produced", breeding females suffer greatly, and
puppies are defective,
[NO UNLICENSED BREEDING] license (with appropriate fees) legitimate breeders and individuals who want to breed their dogs
(purebred or not) with appropriate regulation,
[Legitimate breeders would be part of the regulation process, as would other citizens. No one wants to be regulated, but
government has the responsibility to regulate where it is necessary. The point of regulating breeders is to assure that the
dogs are being treated humanely, the breeding is designed to produce puppies of quality, or at least of good health and
sound, and the number of times a female may produce a litter is appropriately limited. Reputable breeders should not be
opposed, and there are those who are not.], and
[NEWSPAPERS, ETC. TO KEEP RECORDS] require advertisers who carry ads for dogs, for sale or given away, to keep records of the
names and contact information of both the provider and the recipient, and the micro-chip information of the dog. [This will
aid in tracking the "ownership" record of the dog by the authorities, if needed regarding unlicensed breeding and
sale of puppies. And, also regarding at least two kinds of nefarious activities that are facilitated through such
advertising: dog fighting, and the fraudulent, through misrepresentation, obtaining of pets to be sold to biomedical research
Of course, these things need development, and there are other things that can be added. But, essentially it's a matter of
assuring that people act responsibly regarding pets.
The key is to have requirements that are reasonable. They must be strict, but virtually un-intrusive; except for those who
persist in acting irresponsibly.
WILL YOU BE PART OF THE SOLUTION?
Where the established animal welfare organizations are working effectively, it's good, and they can use additional
support. However, what is being proposed here is a "grassroots - of the people - movement" that can support those
efforts, but also a range of novel and yet untried initiatives with a great mass of people applying pressure, and who will be
heard loudly and clearly.
But, it is essential that there be solidarity in support of a definite program that we are in general agreement to support.
And, that is easier said than done.
Some will say, "These are nothing new!, or "There's no way it's going to work!", or "I don't
think we should get involved in that unless we know in advance that it will work!", or "I don't have time to
waste on working toward something that may not work!"
Others will say, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained!", or "If at first you don't succeed, try, try
There are those to whom the subject of the circumstances of animals is of great, or at least very significant, importance. If
you are one of those, this call is directed to you.]
And, there are those who also say they really don't want to listen to those "knee-jerk nay sayers" who immediately come up with
"reasons" why any one of these things, or other things that may be proposed, cannot be accomplished.
To try, or not to try? which is best? "To try" means to actually do something. It's that thought, of actually
having to come through and do something, that dissuades the many. It's the true hearts, not unduly reluctant to extend
themselves, that spearhead any worthwhile cause.
So, if you will be part of this grassroots effort, e-mail your contact information to:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pinckney Wood, Coordinator
Shoulder to Shoulder grassroots movement