What can I do about my friends' pet problem w/o going crazy?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by fowltemptress, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

    Jan 20, 2008
    I've known a couple for several years now, and I used to enjoy my time with them, but now I feel as though I'm spending the entire time talking them out of buying new pets to, in my opinion, torture.
    Awhile ago they bought a dog, despite my concerns that they had no time. It was kept on a chain on their front lawn on feces that was never removed, and as far as I can discern, was walked maybe once a week. I was concerned when they called me to complain some neighborhood college kids had tried to steal the dog, claiming they were rescuing it, and when I drove there it was in the conditions I described. It was quite a chore convincing them to find a good home for the dog, but I did, and felt that would be the end of their pet experiments.
    Since then, I've talked them out of buying a macaw (no time for a dog, so how could you have time for a parrot?), a shark (they didn't know salt water did not mean you could sprinkle some table salt into a fish tank), and bantam chickens (they wanted a pair to keep in a ten gallon aquarium in their bedroom). They have bought hamsters, rabbits, cats, and ferrets, and each time I was there to explain what needed to be done, have my advice ignored, and then wind up trying to find a home for them after the couple had decided to give up on them. Recently, I wasn't there to answer the phone with advice when they called, so they are now the owners of a duckling, being kept in a DVD box that a DVD player came in, and being fed pasta scraps from the kitchen table. When they told me, I was too shocked to think, but I gave them the address to this forum in the hopes they would realize there's more to keeping a duck than what they think, and either adjust accordingly or find a home for it. It's been several days, and I've called them back and from what they've said the duckling is in the same conditions.
    I'm worn out by these people. If they were strangers, and not friends I've known for years (I was her maid of honor), I would not have hesitated to call animal control on them. I don't understand where this new obsession with obtaining pets has come from, they have never been animal people, but it seems like they have become the sort to simply look for another animal as soon as one has been denied them. I finally broke down and wrote a long letter explaining why it would be best for them to take up a hobby that did not include animals, and received a huffy reply that just because I had all the time in the world did not mean I had a right to judge people who have to work (grr, major offense taken at the implication that I do not work), and they do the best they can and can't understand my objections.
    How are people like this handled? Can they be handled? What would you do? I know if animal control showed up, they'd realize it was me who had called, and I'm sure even a fine would do nothing to keep them from acquiring a new pet as soon as the mood struck. As it is, at least they still trust me, so I have opportunities to keep them from some of their impulse buys, and I fear the trust would be gone once they knew I was calling authorities on them. This whole situation is making me sick.
  2. That's kind of tough. you have your friends on one side and the well being of an animal (no matter the kind) on the other.

    I have never had to call a complaint on a FRIEND for neglecting and animal. I have how ever had to call the cops many times on our neighbors dog who had attacked me and my geese. I feel no remorse for doing so. They are still my neighbors and they still visit every once and awhile(not that I want them here, they just don't get the hints). Anyway.
    I don't know for sure, but I thought if you had a fine issued reguarding animals you were not allowed to adopt from shelters/humane societies. Maybe let the shelters know of there doings, and they could step in.
    Of course my first answer would be to talk to your friends, but that obviously hasn't worked to well for you. Sometimes people are too thick headed. They see the cuteness in the animal and want want want it. But when the responsiblities come in they don't have the time.
    Is there dog/ what ever animals registered with the county?? If not that is a violation (at least here). We have to register our dogs and cats. Fixed and unfixed ones. It's not much..maybe $3-$7 per animals but if it's not done and a complaint came in then I would be slapped with a fine on top of the compalint fine, for not having the animals registered. We have to pay it when we pay our propterty taxes each year.

    I know I didn't really offer any help to you, more just babbling. Sorry. Hope someone else can answer a little better than I did...
  3. Cara

    Cara Songster

    Aug 30, 2007
    I'm struggling to see how these people can still be your friends. Other than helping the pets out, I would not want anything to do with them.

    We have a family somewhat like that here on the ranch. My husband has pretty much always lived here, but I didn't move here permanently until we got married last May. There was an Australian Shepherd who I only saw in passing until I moved in. One day he was at our house stealing cat food, and when I went to pet him I could feel he was like a rail under all that fluff. His coat was badly matted with burs that were causing wounds, and he was crawling with fleas and ticks. His original owner had left him behind as a puppy when he moved, and the family 'took him in'. He never went inside though, had no attention, was not fed properly, needed grooming and worming, and most of all someone he could trust. He developed a bad limp so I took him to the vet. We had planned to just 'disappear' him to a new home, but my husband decided we needed to ask them first. Well luckily they said yes, and he's now in a permanent home with his foster family, who just fell for him.

    However, about a month later the family took in a pregnant Blue Heeler. She was getting fed, but that was about it. She had nowhere to have her puppies, so I took a wading pool and some blankets over as she was trying to have them in a storage tote full of kitty litter. She had six puppies, and I found a shelter willing to take all of them and the mother, and to train them all until they found homes. They decided to keep two puppies! Who knows why, since they couldn't afford to feed the dog i'd already rehomed for them, and they had a baby due in a couple of months. When they took the four puppies to the shelter, the mother had run off somewhere so she stayed too.

    I made numerous attempts to find her a home, as did others, but they decided they were going to keep her and get her spayed. That didn't happen, and i'd aggravated the shelters enough with the constant changes in plan. Two or three months later she was in heat again, then pregnant by their unneutered male. Shortly afterwards she was chasing horses and got kicked, and my husband had to shoot her as her back was broken. She never got any training, and anyone with common sense knows not to leave a herding dog loose to entertain themselves amongst livestock. Another couple that lived here decided to take the male dog when they left, and make a pet of him. He's doing great too. The two puppies are still here, pretty much running riot stealing tack out of the saddle barn and chewing it up, chasing horses in pens, pooping everywhere and it's never cleared up. The family have decided that they want to rehome them since they are sick of people complaining about them (rather than training them?!), and now the puppies have reached the age where they are no longer cute and it would take a lot of work for someone to get a handle on them. One of the cowboys has decided to keep one of the puppies and he is doing good going to work with him.

    As for the other puppy, I am staying out of this one now. I am sick of clearing space for them to get more dogs they won't look after. Perhaps if they have to go through the hassle of finding homes for their unwanted pets, they'll think harder before they get them. Perhaps. In your case I would call Animal Control if and when you have a good case (unfortunately it would probably have to come to that). Animal abusers are not friends.
  4. People like this never learn, they always have a Friend that will cover for them. Call AnimalControl. We live in a county that has NO animal control, and since we live on a dead end road wayyyyyy out in the woods we get a lot of animals dropped off. We have taken I don't know how many to other counties, so many that they will no longer accept any from our family.Wetry to explain that they are just drop off animals but the shelters just say Yes, i bet. So now I have 4dogs,and l cat, when i only wanted 1 dog and No cats (I'm not a cat person) but i don't know what to do with them.I can't bear to seeanything go hungry.[​IMG]
  5. Quote:That sounds like us...
    We live in 'NoMans Land'. People constantly drop dogs or cats off. Not always at our place. But along the road or into the public hunting land that is right across the road from us. Our township is NOT hooked up with any of the local animal shelters. Because the township has to pay fees for that kind of a service. I believe it's something like $5 per person registered in the township. (or something along those lines).
    What we get here is a local farmer who takes in the stray animals. If it's a cat...it gets shot the same day. His thinking is NO ONE wants cats. If it's a dog...he ties it up in his barn. Holds it for 5-7 days. IF no one has contacted the 'Constible'--sp?? (yep we don't have a cop or police or anything. We have a Constible (which I can't even spell [​IMG] ).. After that 5-7 day period if no one has contacted the constible he shoots the dogs too. This is the way things have gone on here for more than 25 years. It dont' think it's going to change anytime soon. I don't agree with how they do things, so anytime I here they have a dog I go check it out. If I know who the dog belongs to I let the farmer, the constible and the owners know. If it's not one that I recongnize I still try to think of a home for it...or if it would even work here at our place. So far we haven't been able to bring any home from the farmer, but I constantly keep my eye out...
  6. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Get them a gift. . . A small tank of hand-picked "feeder" goldfish!!! The perfect pet for kid learners AND ADULT NON-LEARNERS. Heck, get yourself some, too. You'll have something in common to talk about and it's proven that watching fish lowers your blood pressure!! I LOVE mine and take care of them just for that!!!! [​IMG] Ed.: Throw in a beginner book on goldfish care-- Who knows? Maybe they WILL learn something!
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2008
  7. sunnychooks

    sunnychooks Songster

    Jul 21, 2007
    I'm so sorry this has been put on you. Personally, I agree with the post that asked why you would want these people for friends...

    The thing about your post that struck me is that you are the one who always steps in to rescue/find a new home for these poor animals. In other words, can it be that you are enabling them to be irresponsible? As terrible as it is, perhaps it's time for these folks to be "stuck" with a pet. Finding a home for their pets themselves or having to dispose of a dead pet may be the experience they need to wake up to the fact that homes are hard to come by and animals must be properly cared for.

    I really hate the advice I'm giving because an animal will more than likely have to suffer for their stupidity. The best thing you can do for yourself is to walk away from this friendship.
  8. fowltemptress

    fowltemptress Frugal Fan Club President

    Jan 20, 2008
    As for wanting these people for friends . . . we have been friends for many years, long before they even considered getting a pet. This is the only issue that has ever caused serious friction between us, at least on my side. I also feel guilty because I believe I was the cause of them getting bitten by the animal bug. I used to work at the zoo and an animal shelter, and my SO worked at several pet shops during college, and we both have always surrounded ourselves, within reason, by animals. My SO is disgusted and refuses to speak with them at all, as most of his time working in pet shops was spent convincing people like them not to buy an animal. He eventually quit because he would notice the people would just come back a week later and buy the animal through one of the less savvy pet store employees. He thinks people can't learn, but I'm hoping by continuing to be on speaking terms with these people, they'll eventually either learn to care for something properly, or (which is more likely, despite my optimism) they will get tired of the pet thing in general and just stop. As it is, I have convinced them to find homes for their pets, rather than allowing to live out their days forgotten in some room of the house, so would it be better to cut ties if I'm doing some little good? They told me they had plans to release the duck once it was older at the river, and I convinced them to put an add in craigslist, instead. I feel like if I wasn't there to talk, there'd be yet another poor, domestic duck begging for junk food from people.
    Oh, and I'm sorry I wasn't clear on one point . . . I have never had to find a home for the animals (except a beta fish, which I took for myself), but I was the one to CONVINCE them it would be best to re home, which in the case of some pets took quite alot of convincing. Once, when they had ferrets, I decided not to say anything and see how long it took them to come to the conclusion the ferrets needed to go. The piles of poo and the smell of ammonia got horrible, but they continued to give them water and cat food. One of the ferrets died, at which point they asked me if whatever disease that one had had would be spread to the other, and I threw a fit. I can't understand how someone can keep their own home immaculate but have no interest in cleaning a pet's living area. They did decide of their own accord to give that one away, which made me hopeful, but they replaced it with a new pet.
    When I worked in an animal shelter, I was alway in charge of caring for the dogs and keeping the kennels clean, so I never learned how to deal with or talk to people who weren't suitable for pet ownership. I was hoping there was a certain technique used to convince people that animals weren't their thing. I guess there isn't, really. Thanks for the replies . . . after the duck, I guess I'll wait and see what the new animal is and how they manage it, and call animal control. In my experience it's hard to convince authorities that there is something wrong with a reptile, and heaven forbid you show concern for a fish, even if it is being kept in sludge, but hopefully something can be done.
  9. farmertank

    farmertank Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    Linden TN
    maybe the reason they "think" they want pets is because they don't have time to have kids.
    I know that a lot of people will get a pet to replace the yearning for a child.

    I'm not saying that what they are doing is right, but maybe they don't even realize why they keep trying with the animals. If you have been friends for a long time, I think you should sit down and really talk to them. No letters, they are so un-personal. I think someone suggested gold fish. They are really easy to take care of, but you can't cuddle with them. Well you can try, but I think they will be a little slippery [​IMG]

    I would suggest they voulenteer at the nearest shelter. This way they can go a few times a week and take care of the animals, get their "fix" and go home with no worries.

    I'm sorry I can't be more help, but I believe the best thing to do would be to find out how they are feeling and why they really want the pets

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