No Need to Worry About Stray Cats and Dogs

The U.S. politics of procrastination: Yeah. We'll get around to that

It was just a small Inquirer story, but I thought it explained so much about why we behave the way we do these days. The Delaware County SPCA, which announced last year that as of this July 1st it would no longer accept strays from municipalities—strays that account for two-thirds of the animals it takes in—is considering extending that deadline, so long as some money matters get rearranged. I really only noticed the story because after the announcement last year, I pitched my editors an article on what would happen once area SPCAs—Delaware County was only the latest—refused to take in wayward critters. Nationwide, such societies are trying to get back into protection mode and out of the business of euthanizing unwanted animals, which is what was happening to lots of those strays. It seemed to me the situation had the possibility for reaching crisis, with mongrels roaming the streets and feral cats pissing everywhere.

But like so much in life—funding for the Philly schools, the war in Afghanistan, the Orchestra bankruptcy, the health-care predicament—the SPCA situation in Delco seems to be resolving itself, with the aid of a raft of lawyers and politicians and executive boards and to-and-fro letters and paperwork. The big cat-and-dog debacle I foresaw looks to be coming to naught. Things are getting worked out, by people we don’t know about somewhere at meetings we’re not privy to. The wheel grinds on.

Is it any wonder we’ve become immune to threats of dire consequences? Social Security funding, Medicare, crime, foreign countries stealing all our jobs—someone else will do something about that. Big worries are so far from our weak little spheres of personal influence. Washington, Harrisburg, even City Hall, all seem like closed shops, neither wanting nor appreciating our input … unless it’s an election year (when barely half of us vote). After that, we all hit SNOOZE and go back to watching Jersey Shore. And TV and newspapers and the Internet continue to warn us about disasters that never quite seem to arrive. Imagine how shocked we’ll be if they ever do.