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January 10, 2006 > Their Bill of Rights

Their Bill of Rights

by Nancy Lyon

You become responsible forever for what you've tamed.
-Antoine de Saint-ExupŽry

Very often our New Year's resolutions quickly fall to the wayside, but that's a personal choice. When our action or inaction negatively affects the lives and well-being of our animal family, we need to not only resolve to correct our ways but actually follow through. Where they are concerned, our choices can mean a life of deprivation leading to a sorrowful death, or a wonderful and fulfilling relationship that is unique and rewarding. It's our choice.

A walk through any animal shelter will quickly bring the realization that too many of us have failed to understand, care for, and truly love these wonderful creatures. They wait for those they have trusted to come for them and too often, they don't arrive.

The Ohlone Humane Society offers this thoughtful plea for understanding for our animal friends.

The Companion Animal Bill of Rights:

To be treated as a respected guest within human society.
To be regarded as a masterwork of creation with intelligence and feeling.
To be provided ample, healthful and non-monotonous diet, including fresh water daily.
To be protected from any and all forms of physical, mental or other abuse from any source.
To be provided ample and regular opportunity for physical exercise and mental stimulation.
To be given regular, daily undivided attention from their primary guardian for a reasonable duration of time.
To be protected to the guardian's best ability from parasites such as ticks and fleas or other biological pests.
To be provided with responsible and regular health care and qualified veterinarian treatment when necessary.
To be provided with a like-species companion if their guardian cannot provide ample undivided daily attention.
To be provided adequate protection and shelter from severe temperatures, weather or otherwise unhealthy environmental conditions.
To be provided with an adequate and appropriate main living environment that does not constrain their natural inclinations or depress their spirit.
To be protected from an existence of chronic boredom or loneliness.
To be with the family, inside the home, sharing their lives.

And most of all if the animals could speak:
To be provided with genuine affection by my human companions. I am family - not a tool, a garment to add to your image, an amusement or temporary diversion to be used, forgotten and cast off. If you cannot abide by these conditions for the duration of my lifetime, then I ask you not bring me into your life - I deserve better than you can offer.

On a Happy New Year note: Bucky the blind cat who was severely injured by a car and saved by a Good Samaritan has found a loving and wonderful forever home. Thank you Tri-City Voice for your support and being the newspaper with a heart.

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