Rebecca Poling’s latest Examiner article talks about the need for pet owners to consider their community, and points out that pet owners need to be held accountable for their impact on a community. A controversial article? Maybe for some, but teaching people to be responsible pet owners is what Companions For Life does, and part of being a responsible pet owner is being a responsible neighbor.
After all, pets are like kids – not everybody likes them (inexplicable though that may be to you, their doting guardian)… and although you might think yours are the cutest, smartest, most talented and most lovable in the world, not everybody is going to agree.
So while you think it’s sweet that Fido misses you when you go to work, the guy who works night shift in the apartment next door might be slowly going mad from the incessant barking during the day. And no matter how charming you think it is that your friendly feline likes to visit every home on the street, the family with allergies up the road certainly doesn’t appreciate the company. And NOBODY likes stepping in something undesirable on the curbside as they get into/out of their car, or having to cross the road to avoid an overexcited dog on “walkies”.
“Is all this really that big a deal?” you ask – YES, yes it is! A cantankerous neighbor could make your life a living hell (especially if he’s the President of the Home Owners Association, or knows your landlord) and may even be within their rights to demand that you surrender your pet or send the police around for noncompliance with municipal ordinances, like that old couple in Dallas recently. Or it could be worse – a ticked off neighbor could take matters into their own hands and injure, or even kill your pet in order to get rid of the “problem”.
Being aware of the constraints of living in an urban (especially high-density) area is important, and the closer the quarters, the more important it is to be considerate of others whether they agree with your love of animals or not.
And finally, as a pet owner in a city, you are an advocate for responsible pet ownership – how you (and your pet) conduct yourself can have far-reaching influence: pet owners who are perceived to be a nuisance, or inconsiderate, could be the reason why the Association votes to be a pet-free community at the next Board meeting, or quite the opposite – the more pet owners that prove they are considerate, clean and quiet, the better the options will be for neighborhoods, condos and apartments to accept pets without penalty.
None of us is an island - our actions have implications. Being a responsible member of the community will ultimately mean a better life for us and our pets!