Animals going green |

Animals going green

Earth Day on Sunday, April 22, is a reminder to check our relationships with Mother Earth and our co-inhabitants on the planet. Are we greener than last year? Pet owners are checking in with their pets as well. Here are ideas for making carbon paw prints a little smaller and our shared habitat a little friendlier for both domestic and wild animals.

1. Speak your mind about legislation that threatens domestic pets, such as breed-specific legislation, and that which threatens wildlife, such as hunting quotas and non-sportsmanlike hunting practices.

2. Make your neighborhood pet safe and animal friendly. Start a Neighborhood Animal Watch to learn about the pets who belong there and the wildlife who use your piece of the planet as a corridor to reach water or natural foods. Save the bears and coyotes from harm by not attracting them and other wildlife with bird feeders and unsecured garbage.

3. Keep pets, water sources, wildlife, the air and earth safe with environmentally friendly antifreeze, ice melt, and organic fertilizers and insecticides. Use natural cleaning products inside and outside the home.

4. Choose sustainable and recycled pet products such as hemp collars and leashes, organic cotton bed covers, pet toys made of recycled rubber and plastic, pet beds made of recycled plastic bottles, bamboo bowls, home-grown catnip and more. Recycle clean, near-new pet toys and supplies by exchanging with other pet owners or donating to a shelter or charity thrift store.

5. Take time to read ingredient labels. Cook natural wholesome foods for pets as an alternative to mass-market pet foods with questionable, low-grade ingredients that can cause disease transmitted from inhumanely-treated and unhealthy, slaughtered livestock.

6. Protect water sources by actively promoting community values, including picking up your pet’s waste – and other pet piles, too. Use biodegradable bags instead of plastic for both dog waste and cat litter disposal.

7. Select pets thoughtfully, without supporting the puppy and kitten mill industries, saving exotics – like parrots – from the horrors of the black market trade, and sparing fad pets from the stress of struggling in habitats inadequate for mental, physical and a humane quality of life.

8. On behalf of your best friends, accept responsibility for safe pet-keeping. Maintain cats inside to protect them from predators and poisons, and to save wild birds. Leash dogs to avoid encounters which cause stress for wildlife and potential injury for both animals.

9. Spay and neuter to eliminate pet overpopulation. Improvement has been made, but still there are about 4 million adoptable pets in shelters and millions more strays on the streets, homeless in America.

10. Practice the ultimate recycle. Recycle unconditional love by adopting from an animal shelter. Then keep a current ID tag and/or a microchip on pets so they do not become forever lost again as part of the surplus shelter pet population.

Pets and wildlife depend on humans to create and maintain a healthy harmony of nature in balance. Human, domestic, and wild animals honor Mother Earth by coexisting respectfully and compassionately. For information about starting a Neighborhood Animal Watch, call 530-542-2857.

– Provided by the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and S.P.C.A. to help “Keep Tahoe Kind.” Dawn Armstrong is the executive director.

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