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'It has David Bowie eyes': Dumb reasons people give up pets

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DH Vancouver Staff Jan 14, 2015 8:55 am

As comedian and actor Ricky Gervais recently said: “How can anyone abandon a beautifully loyal dog? It’s not an accessory, it’s your f—ing best friend.”

Sadly, he’s right. Each year, thousands of dogs and cats each year are turned into the BC SPCA and shelters throughout the province. Through no fault of their own, these loving animals who have provided love and companionship to their human families, often for years, are unceremoniously dumped. Instead of living out their senior years in a warm home, they’re confined to kennels, often stressed and depressed. And the longer they’re in a shelter the worse odds they’ll ever get out.

Now a resident at SAINTS, Mika, who has cancer, spent most of her life chained up.

Now a resident at SAINTS, Mika, who has cancer, spent most of her life chained up.

This column isn’t about judging pet owners. There are lots of understandable reasons and unforeseen circumstances that force people to give up their animal: The BC SPCA says people being unable to find pet-friendly accommodation is the number one reason it has owner surrenders, followed by allergy problems.

This article is specifically about the nonsensical, almost insane-seeming reasons that great pets become homeless. They’re not dangerous, vicious or un-trainable. On the contrary, there are purebreds and puppies and kittens and really awesome, loving animals that just got the short end of the stick, life and luck-wise. And if there’s any bright side, it’s that you can give them a new home, and they’ll love you unconditionally.

Coda-bear is a Yorkie who was an SPCA cruelty seizure for medical neglect. (SAINTS)

Coda-bear is a Yorkie who was an SPCA cruelty seizure for medical neglect. (SAINTS)

Three veteran B.C. animal rescuers shared their most outlandish and heartbreaking reasons animals are ditched.

Kathy Powelson, Executive Director of Paws for Hope

  • Cat surrendered because it was “freeloading and just sleeping all day.”
  • A family had four dogs and didn’t want to care for them all, so they got rid of Maxi because she was the oldest.
  • Cat returned because its black hair was sticking on the white couch.
  • Cat returned on its first day in new home because it hid under the bed
  • It outgrew its tank
  • “I didn’t know how much work it was”
  • Guinea Pig pees too much
  • Got rid of the old dog because the new dog they got doesn’t get along with the old dog
  • Doesn’t match the furniture
  • My wife and I are retiring and cat doesn’t fit into our lifestyle
  • New girlfriend doesn’t like the dog
  • Dog returned to the shelter because it was afraid to get into the car.
  • 10-year-old dog surrendered to shelter because family was replacing old carpet with new flooring.
  • Owner redecorates and surrendered the dog because it did not match the new look. She was sure the dog would find a new home because she was purebred
  • Surrendered dog because he stole a turkey off the counter
  • Redid the back yard and didn’t want dog to ruin the grass
  • “This dog keeps wanting to be close to me. I can’t stand it following me all the time”

One of the many great animals residing at SAINTS farm in Mission, B.C.

One of the many great animals residing at SAINTS farm in Mission, B.C.

Susan Patterson, founder of Thank Dog I Am Out rescue

  • My dog follows my son and not my daughter around the house I want the dog to love my daughter
  • I am going on a holiday and don’t want to pay for boarding
  • My dog doesn’t like to walk in the rain

One of the many great animals residing at SAINTS farm in Mission, B.C.

One of the many great animals residing at SAINTS farm in Mission, B.C.

Carol Hine, owner of SAINTS, a farm sanctuary for old, sick and unwanted animals

  • We want to put in a pool so there is no room in the backyard for the dog any more
  • We did not think the cat would live this long (he was 12!)
  • Relocating to another province and do not think our 20 year old cat will do well with the change so we want to leave her at a homeless animal shelter instead
  • We love him/her soooo much but we do not have time for him or her any more.
  • We just bought a new condo and didn’t know our 60 pound, 16-year-old dog was too big to come with us
  • The breeder told us this was a micro pig who would not get any bigger than 30 pounds and will not be destructive in the house. (Reached 50 pounds and kept growing)
  • We are moving out of the country and the airline won’t let us fly our dog
  • A new boyfriend said ‘it is the cat or me.’ The new boyfriend wins.
  • I have an old/crippled/stinky/dirty dog and am ashamed for my holiday visitors to see them (The owners don’t actually say this, but it happens at every pound and shelter at Christmas. We call it “cleaning house for the holidays.”

Moose, adopted from SAINTS farm in Mission. (SAINTS)

Moose, adopted from SAINTS farm in Mission. (SAINTS)

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DH Vancouver Staff
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