Putting the Pet-al to the Metal?
By Abe Lerner
Speeding Claims the Lives of Many Pets
Wynatt Drive is a dream street, as it links two major boulevards together without the hindrance of any traffic lights or stop signs. Spanning a mere five blocks, the temptation to arrive at their destinations unimpeded, lures many drivers to speed excessively. The 30 MPH sign literally gets blown away in the dust of those cruising along at twice the limit. Wynatt Drive has the dubious distinction though, of having the highest roadkill rate in the area. Carcasses of animal victims lay strewn alongside the road, awaiting pick up by the Public Works Dept.
According to a New York Times article written by Malia Wollen (9/12/10), one million animals in the USA are killed daily by vehicular traffic. Although that figure appears to be bloated, and perhaps the definition of “animal” is being expanded to include insects and the like, the numbers are staggering. Included in the dead is wildlife such as deer that dart out unexpectedly from their natural habitat, directly in the paths of unsuspecting drivers. Many squirrels have perished as well. The demise of deer and squirrels is sad enough. Can you imagine however, the pain of a pet parent, learning that his dog or cat has been run over by a car? The death of a loved one is a monumental blow to the entire family.
As pet lives continue to end tragically, what can be done to stem the tide of this prevailing trend? It appears that both owners and drivers would need to “take inventory” of their surroundings, to properly address this issue. Many pet parents permit their animals to run around unattended, anticipating their return home, as a result of their being trained to do so. Although allowing pets to roam freely makes for good exercise in a stress-free environment, we cannot emphasize enough the inherent hazards associated with it. Not necessarily being aware of an impending danger coupled with their electric speed, is unfortunately a disastrous recipe for pets, as they can sprint into the street on a whim. In high traffic areas, especially those without traffic lights or stop signs, pets should remain within the confines of their homes when unattended. Outdoor excursions should be exclusively in the company of the pet parents. It is simply not worth taking a chance.
On the flip side, drivers need to objectively gage the venue that they are driving in. Although in general we do not encourage speeding, our blog remains focused on pet-related topics. Navigating a road with an unregulated traffic flow in a populated locale, would behoove the driver to give some thought to the possible ramifications of exceeding the speed limit. Taking into account the myriad of animals that potentially dwell in the neighborhood and their predisposition to suddenly bolt into the path of oncoming traffic, should be a sufficient reason to slow down. Being cognizant of one’s surroundings may actually save lives.
So the next time you have the urge to put the “pet-al to the metal”, Wy Natt Drive more carefully?