Alec Ravana is a 19 year old who works at a pretty popular dog kennel in Sandy Hook, Conn. Though he admits he is not sure if the kennel is a representation of all facilities of the sort, it is overall fairly average.
After Ravana checks in a dog, he will bring them into the back and escort them to a concrete room about four feet by six feet big with an open ceiling. The room, or as Ravana put it, cell, includes a cot and feeding bowls.
Throughout the day, each dog is taken out four times for about ten minutes at a time to urinate and stretch, and whatnot. They spend the rest of their dog day in their designated room. For additional services, one can pay for their dog to go swimming in a pond, or as Ravana said, pay $2 for him to throw a ball around for the dog for ten minutes. The dogs can look at each other, but for liability reasons, cannot interact.
When I asked Ravana what he liked about his job, he stated, “I like making the dogs happy since their owners decided to abandon them.” I asked him if that was a justification. He said yes; he hates his job.
Owning an animal is a large responsibility. Students are at a time in their lives when many are considering adopting animal friends. Therefore, it is extremely important for someone wishing to adopt to consider the long term responsibilities that accompany owning a pet, especially at the age when one is not yet settled into a permanent home.
It is true that Milo and Otis do not travel as easily as their owners, but there are alternative options to kennels. Would you ever leave a child in the above conditions? Obviously children are more high maintenance than a dog, but that clearly does not mean they should have to squander in such conditions. I am not arguing kennels are actively cruel, but they are undeniably inhumane in a passive manner. Equality is not just about treating others the way you would want to be treated, but also about treating others the way they would want to be treated. Notice I say others. I seriously doubt a person or a dog would willingly choose to be handled as thus.
Ravana told me one of the more common reasons a person will bring a dog to a kennel is because they are having people over and they need the dog “put away” for a few hours. “It confuses me really. A dog, or pet, is supposed to be a part of the family. Why would you hide a member of your family from your guests?”
An animal is not a material object. It is a living, breathing creature whose only obligation is to diligently love their owners. That being said, why would you put your friend in a concrete cell while you go have fun?
Certainly there are journeys to be endeavored in which a pet cannot accompany their master. However, there are kinder alternatives to kenneling a pet, such as hiring a pet sitter or having them stay at a friend’s house.
The kennel Ravana works at is highly recommended among the local community and is in no way an exception. It is the overall concept of a kennel that is cruel. Ravana chose to end with the following: “Nine out of ten people I encounter do not know how to own a dog, and the tenth person is still stupid enough to bring their dog to a kennel.”
Elissa Fredeen can be contacted at email@example.com