I have been reflecting on the problems pointed out in this insightful article ("By the Numbers," Currents, Sept. 19) regarding the problems with stray, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs and how the city of Tucson is currently dealing with the issue. I think I have come up with a solution .... a modest proposal, if you will, that will satisfy the city council and solve the problem entirely.

Everyone can agree that there are many stray cats and dogs all over the city limits. In fact, it is depressing to walk in many neighborhoods and see the poor beasts wandering around and looking for food....generally being an eyesore to any visitors. It's especially disturbing if one were to see a carcass of a dog or cat that had been hit by a car, and left abandoned until the overworked county animal officer can clean it up.

Horse meat has been legal to sell as food in the U.S. since 2011. It is not a huge step for the City of Tucson to pass an ordinance allowing the sale and consumption of dog and cat meats.  Once that hurdle is passed, the city and the county stand to make money instead of spending it on stray dogs and cats. 

Assuming that we have the same amount of collected animals in the city limits per year (nearly 15,000) and assuming that the average pound per pet would be 20, the city could sell the meat back to the consumer for a dollar a pound and make $300,000.  This is, of course, not taking into account that the price of some breeds could go for more, that some of the meat could be used to offset the cost of feeding jail inmates, and that the "on the paw" calculation could in fact be much higher. 

Once this idea takes hold, perhaps local entrepreneurs will see the benefits. People will no longer want to neglect their animals, if they know that there is a market per pound for their dog or cat. There will be no need for animal welfare officers to be on the street, as entrepreneurs will become "dog catchers" for the ability to make some money. (I refuse to digress into the economics of Tucson that would make such a thing popular.).

As a side note: For those concerned about public welfare; of course, the talented dogs that could be rescued and put to use as firehouse, police dogs, etc. would not be made into meals, but would effectively be earning their keep.

The advantages to this would be multi-fold.  In the interest of space (and attention span), I will just say that it will rid the city of unwanted animals, make money for the city council to use for paying lawyers, and create a new spirit of business in a depressed sector of the economy.

Shame on the city council for not thinking of this first.

Lizz Dimercurio

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