Where to candidates stand on animal welfare? – Red Bluff Daily News

While driving around town, it would be difficult to avoid seeing the predominance of signs imploring you to vote for a specific candidate. There is no denying that Tehama County elections are on the horizon and everyone is vying to win.

I mean truly no offense to any specific individual running, but it is more of the “same old s—t, different day.” We hear the same rhetoric and platitudes about crime, marijuana, human homelessness, etc. every time. However, I can say that among everything espoused I, again, have heard very little, if anything, with regard to animals. Most likely it is because they cannot vote. However, our vote has the power to change laws and policies for the betterment of animal welfare in this county. Our vote has the ability to put one person in office, instead of another. Our vote can become a voice for these voiceless residents.

There are numerous positions that affect animal welfare on the June 7 ballot. Among them, and the candidates running, are: Member of the State Assembly, 3rd District (James Gallagher and David Leon Zink) Supervisors for District 3 (Dennis Garton and Patti Nolan) and District 4 (Robert A. “Bob” Williams and Matt Hanson), County Auditor-Controller (Krista Peterson and K. Candy Carlson), District Attorney (Matthew D. Rogers or a write in) and the Tehama County Sheriff-Coroner (Chad Parker, and David “Dave” Kain). Simply put, these are the positions that create, enforce and administer the policies and resources that affect animals in this county and I, for one, would be interested to hear what they have to say regarding a few pertinent topics.

Cats are unregulated in Tehama County, yet dogs must be licensed and vaccinated for rabies. It would be interesting to hear why one is regulated and not the other, since rabies is reported in cats more than in any other domestic species. In addition, what is being done to ensure compliance with all existing applicable laws, including licensing and registration? Free-roaming abandoned and feral cats is a huge issue within this county. It would be interesting to hear what is planned to assist in eliminating this overwhelming and taxing problem. Abusers of animals are five times more likely to harm humans. Animal cruelty is classified as a Group A felony by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, because the belief is that a crime committed against an animal is a “crime against society”. Yet, how seriously will animal cruelty issues be addressed by all candidates?

Last year 1,919 animals entered our local shelter. The majority were dogs, and the next largest were cats. Other species housed were horses, goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits, chickens, turtles, etc. Despite the best efforts of the dedicated individuals working at the shelter, there are many matters associated with the care and management of the entering population that should be addressed by the candidates, among which are the adequacy of the facility, the amount of staffing allotted, and chosen resources available. I do understand that the shelter is only a band-aid to the larger complex problem of animal overpopulation within the county, but it would be interesting to hear how the intend candidates to help reduce the relinquishment, abandonment, and irresponsible breeding of animals while insuring their health and welfare.

I also understand there are factors which weigh upon the decision-making process of each individual who is running for office. Among those are the impact it will have on their department and the county, the economic impact on their budget, general public sentiment, possible personal impact on them and their family, the position of their political party and the possibility of garnering positive or negative media attention. Therefore, it is no surprise that politicians will put their own priorities before their duty to represent the will of their constituents. We see time and again, however, that most politicians seem to put almost everything and anything before animal welfare.

Animals get little attention from either side of the political aisle. They are some of the most vulnerable creatures that exist in our community but, despite their significant numbers, they continue to remain largely unseen and are often ignored. There may even be a tendency to regard animal advocacy as a nice for those who are viewed as being out of touch with human suffering, which is deemed as being of greater import. Prioritizing animals does not mean the abandonment of all other values. It does mean that we must be willing to persistently ask more candidates about their stances on animal issues, making it clear that our choices of candidates will be based, in part, on their answers. It is important to remember that many elections are won or lost by just a few points. If every person who believes that animals should be treated humanely and with compassion votes, as a bloc, the voiceless can have a forceful voice heard.

If you want more information regarding the upcoming election, contact The Tehama County Elections (530 527-8190 or elections@co.tehama.ca.us) In addition, their website (https://www.co.tehama.ca.us) /government/departments/elections) provides a number of useful links for election information.

In the movie “The American President” one piece of dialogue is, “We’ve got serious problems, and we need serious people…” Whether we like it or not, Tehama County has serious animal population problems and yes, it needs serious people to deal with them.

Ronnie Casey has been volunteering with the Tehama County Animal Care Center since relocating in 2011. A retired RN, she strives to help animals in need within Tehama county. She can be reached at rmcredbluff@gmail.com.

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