Armchair Animal Rescuer
By Share Bond
An armchair animal rescuer, like an armchair quarterback, is one who is critical of those rescuers who are actually in the "trenches" helping animals, but who has no experience from which to make valid criticisms. All too often I've seen several of these armchair animal rescuers condemning some of us that have been doing the dirty work, improving impossible conditions, while the armchair animal rescuer sits at his/her comfortable desk, slamming us for our actions and insisting that s/he knows better how to do this work. And all the while s/he shows the world that s/he really doesn't understand the scope of the problems involved in this work.
What started the armchair animal rescuer on his/her rants? Instead of waiting to hear all the facts, the armchair animal rescuer begins to pound out his/her vitriolic attack on his/her computer keyboard. The armchair animal rescuer doesn't even consider that there is another side of the story, nor that what's being reported is not convictions, nor that there might be mitigating circumstances. Normally, news reports are something that intelligent people learn to read with a grain of salt when it comes to reports about animal rescuers/activists, but because they give ammunition to our retractors, these reports are taken as gospel - the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
What the news reports rarely say is how the conditions really were and anything good that the animal rescuers have accomplished in all the years of doing their work. It's all about sensationalism, rarely about real facts. Every rescue (even animal control, humane society, zoo, etc.) has moments or a day now and then where there are no volunteers available or one may be exhausted and the conditions might not be perfect, but that is no indicator of a daily routine. These people just need help. THAT is all that should be done, not slander, chastisement, and being shut down. If that is the criteria, then there would be no animal rescuers left. It's really sad that the agencies that 'go after' rescuers have a political agenda - to make them look better and help them win their case. It takes a lot of lies and exaggerations to overshadow any good that these people have done in their work....
Animal rescuers are saints, but never perfect. The armchair animal rescuer is normally a wannabe or inadequate person in this profession, and feel better about themselves when they slander and spread rumors about those they are jealous of. The only way they can stand themselves is when they paint others in a negative color.
It seems that those that really stand out (because they go the extra mile to help not only animals but people, and teach in numerous ways, and aren't afraid to speak their mind, etc.) end up being targets. That's the nature of the animal. It is jealousy plain and simple.
What does the future hold for the animals in the area if these people (targets) are eliminated as a result of these negative tactics? The existing rescuers end up with a heavier load emotionally, physically and financially. The fact is that the animals will NOT get the help they need.
As for the armchair animal rescuer - what happens to the animals who are born into a world that doesn't want them, has not cared for them, and ultimately has abandoned them to be disposed of? The armchair animal rescuer has all the answers. S/he thinks that all that has to be done is to build no-kill sanctuaries. But the armchair animal rescuer doesn't have a grip on the massive undertaking this would entail, nor does s/he understand what it would do to the animals themselves.
We all look forward to a no-kill society, where adoptable animals don't have to die, but the armchair animal rescuer forgets that this is a goal to work towards - one that will only be reached with education, spay/neuter campaigns, and possibly even legislation. It's not going to be solved overnight, and it certainly isn't going to be solved solely with sanctuaries, because as homeless animals are warehoused in sanctuaries, people come to the conclusion that it's okay to breed more.
The armchair animal rescuer also conveniently ignores the efforts we have made to improve the lives of not only the animals in our care, but countless animals outside of our sanctuaries.
More things for the armchair animal rescuer to consider:
* It costs taxpayers an estimated $2 billion each year to round up, house, kill, and dispose of homeless animals.
* An estimated 7 million cats and dogs are killed in U.S. shelters each year.
* 47% of cats surrendered to U.S. shelters are not spayed or neutered.
* 55% of dogs surrendered to U.S. shelters are not spayed or neutered.
* 67,000 puppies can be born from one female dog and her offspring in 7 years.
* 420,000 kittens can be born from one female cat and her offspring in 6 years.
* 71% of cats and kittens entering U.S. animal shelters are destroyed.
* 55% of dogs and puppies entering U.S. animal shelters are destroyed.
* For every human born, 6 puppies and kittens are born.
Where would you like those 6 puppies and kittens, for each of your family members, delivered?
My advice to the armchair animal rescuer? Get off your duff and volunteer at a shelter, or with a rescue group. See what life is really like in the world of homeless, orphaned, abused and injured animals.