Do the math.
There are a dozen licensed animal rescue groups operating in Columbia County, all of them private except for the county’s Animal Services Department.
In less than two weeks, there will be one fewer rescue group as the state Department of Agriculture shuts down Happy Tails Rescue.
Will that closure result in a miraculous, commensurate drop in the number of animals needing to be rescued from human irresponsibility? Will pet owners suddenly and collectively race to have their pets neutered to avoid further growth of the pet overpopulation?
Of course not. The only result, then, of shutting down the county’s largest private animal rescue group is that existing groups will be even more crowded – which is hard to imagine when all of them stay in a perpetual state of maxed-out pet populations and shoestring budgets.
In short, they’re already handling all they can. Closing Happy Tails brings one fewer agency to the table to help care for the overflow from pet populations, much of it the direct result of people lacking the common sense, or common decency, to prevent the serial ejection of unwanted litters.
Sure, they’re cute when they’re born. It’s not so cute when those kittens and puppies are turned out and become feral, or turned in to Animal Services where, if not adopted, they’re injected with phenobarbital and burned to ashes in an industrial incinerator.
Of all of Happy Tails’ faults listed by the agriculture inspectors who shut them down, most point simply to the inspectors’ view that, while the animals appeared to be well-cared-for, there were just too many of them for the agency to handle.
Surely they aren’t surprised. Every rescue group has more animals than it wants to handle, but the job of cleaning up other people’s messes is just too big for even a dozen agencies.
And now that battle will be fought by one fewer army. In a seemingly endless war, that’s not exactly an equation for victory.