Portland has earned a reputation for its high homeless population. Any day walking downtown you will see people sitting, begging with a tiny kitten or large dog. Now, I’m working off the assumption that these poor kids are actually homeless. Some will claim that many of the street kids in Portland are bored suburban teens who panhandle for extra change during the summer. I hope that this is the case. At least it opens up the possibility that both the kids and the pets are getting the care they need. However, for kids who are actually homeless, several things are disturbing:
1. You never see a street kid with a grown cat. Grown dogs, yes. WHERE DO THE CATS GO? This has aggravated me to no end. Do the kids get bored and just let loose the (most likely never neutered) cats? Do they end up as strays? Do they die from malnutrition or abuse? Does someone pick them up and take them to a shelter? Mr. Taco?
2. It takes a lot of money to properly care for an animal. Animals need food. Animals need to be wormed. Animals need to be vaccinated for rabies. It is not believable that the street animals in town are all of these things. Hell, most working people can’t really afford the time or money to properly keep a dog. If you buy an animal and are caught mistreating it, you will be subject to laws and fines. To get a shelter animal, you basically have to prove clean credit history, an acceptable amount of space, and plenty of time to care for the animal. But if you are homeless you get a pass?
3. There are laws about licensing animals. Animals can be very dangerous. They can bite and carry diseases. What do you think will happen when a loose animal bites someone and it has no license? The animal is taken away, and whoever “owns” it will get off without having to pay restitution to whoever was injured. Guess what happens to the animal then?
There obviously is a bigger picture here that is about keeping the kids off the streets as well. The innocents in this tragedy aren’t just the animals. But with all the laws and regulations to protect both the kids and their pets it is frustrating that neither are getting the care they need.