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Good stewardship includes animals

As I See It

Animal treatment is one of the benchmarks of success for a society. How we treat each other and our environment are two important indicia of social responsibility. Part and parcel of our environment are the animals amongst us and we are not good social stewards if we ignore animals.

Through ignorance, lack of concern or changed personal circumstances our society generates a surplus of animals. What is to be done with this animal surplus? Either we approach the solution in a responsible and humane manner or we ignore it completely. The ignored animal surplus problem compounds itself regularly due to reproduction.

For more than a decade, I have been an active volunteer with the Mississippi Animal Rescue League (MARL), an affiliate of the U.S. Humane Society. Through my involvement, I have witnessed both the best and worst of our society’s attitudes toward animals.

Our cruelty investigations have proven that insensitivity to animals is a strong indicator of insensitivity to folks. The two go hand in hand.

MARL operates solely on donor contributions. We are not a government agency and receive no government funds. Since inception in 1969, MARL supporters have always “come through” to keep the doors open. Most of our gifts are small in amount and we frequently suffer under financial strain.

About three years ago, Jackson’s Mayor Kane Ditto contacted MARL about making a deal for MARL to house the city’s animals. Jackson has come under judicial criticism for its care, or rather lack thereof, of the stray animals taken in by its animal control department. We made a proposal to the city and have waited somewhat impatiently over the succeeding three years while absolutely nothing was done. We suspected all along that our efforts were in vain because our deal would eventually be subjected to the Jackson City Council.

Being a realistic bunch, our board of directors has sadly concluded that a city deal will not be forthcoming and we must get on with our business. That “business” includes a more structured approach to fund raising. We simply cannot continue financially “getting by” from month to month and no financial relief is likely from the City of Jackson, even though we take in over 4,000 of Jackson’s animals each year.

In a recent meeting, I accepted responsibility for developing and implementing a corporate sponsorship program, the first in MARL’s history. My plan is to devise a “case statement” and hit the street with hat in hand. Our cause is worthwhile and I am optimistic that the corporate community will respond generously, as individual donors have for almost thirty years.

How a civilization conducts it’s animal affairs says volumes about the quality of the natives. Animal issues really are people issues.

Thoughts for the Moment

A decalogue for observation in practical life:

1. Never put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today.

2. Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

3. Never spend your money before you have it.

4. Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.

5. Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.

6. We never repent of having eaten too little.

7. Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.

8. How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.

9. Take things always by their smooth handle.

10.When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.

— Thomas Jefferson, Feb. 21, 1825

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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