By the top left-hand corner of the USA I’m referring to the Inland Northwest of the country. This is an area on the border between the states of Washington and Idaho. You might say that Spokane International Airport is the epicentre of this pleasant land for pets.
An air transport operation, Wings of Rescue, involved in flying 10,000 pets to new homes across United States, say that a third to a half of the pets that they carry are transported to the Inland Northwest. They land at Spokane International Airport, a hub for the pet air transport business, run by volunteers. The Wings of Rescue director of logistics, Rick Browde, said that about 90% of the pets transported to the Inland Northwest go to an area between SpokAnimal and Seattle.
One place the pets come from is, for example, Memphis, Tennessee. This is in the Bible belt. Another area where dogs come from and were it is said there are irresponsible pet owners is Bakersfield, California. In 2016, 3300 dogs were transported from Bakersfield by Wings of Rescue to other locations where the dogs were needed. The lives of these dogs are being saved by this air transport relocation process.
The depressing thing, for me, about the Inland Northwest of America is that the people who live there have a much stronger preference for dogs than cats.
At the Spokane Regional Animal Protection Service, they say that dogs are returned to their owners about 55% of the time and the remainder usually end up being adopted.
There appears to be such a demand in the area of America’s Inland Northwest that they can’t keep a dog for more than the week before he or she is adopted.
But as mentioned, although owners in the area can’t get enough dogs, cats seem to be forgotten. They struggle to find homes for the thousands of unwanted cat. Many, as usual, are euthanised even though they are healthy. Sometimes cats become sick because they are stressed out in shelters.
The desire to have a pet dog in the area is said to originate in campaigns started by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which sends out grant money and helps local shelters. The shelter started to waive adoption fees. They offered low-cost spraying neutering. However, although dogs benefited, cats did not. Why the difference?
Nancy Hill, the Director of the Spokane Regional Animal Protection Service believes that the problem is that people don’t take cat ownership seriously enough. Perhaps this is partly due to the cat’s independence and also because many cat owners get them as a first pet which means the owners are more likely to be irresponsible due to a lack of education about pet ownership. It seems that education is required.