Shining City on the Hill
When I was a kid, I would ride my bicycle home from school and I guess I was a magnet for every neighborhood stray dog or cat who needed a nutritious meal and a warm, safe place to lay down their head. Even at an early age, I knew those down-on-their-luck animals just wanted someone to love and care for them as much as they loved in return.
My parents were incredibly tolerant of my unending and unconditional love for animals in need. I was raised in the “dark ages” of animal welfare when spay/neuter and no-kill shelters didn’t exist in the vernacular of the time, and unwanted pets were simply taken to “the pound,” or worse.
Just one generation ago, it was estimated that up to 20 million companion animals were euthanized annually in shelters in the United States. It was not a good time to be a dog or cat looking for a forever home.
It was even worse for animals suffering from abuse and neglect – in the 1980’s only a small handful of states had laws which recognized that animal cruelty could, and should, rise to the level of a felony charge.