LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More should be done to present animal abuse, neglect

I have been witness to, and have heard many tales of, serious animal abuse and neglect. Not only is it disheartening, but it makes me furious to see such sweet creatures treated so inhumanely.

My husband, Dave, and I (before his passing), were blessed to rescue, foster, and find homes for several dogs and cats. Since his passing, I continue, in however small a way, to help as many as I can. Recently, I came across a Shih-tzu that had been kenneled for a long time and was in dire need of grooming. Once he was groomed (it took three hours), the veterinarian came to check him out. He had a clean bill of health other than for the fact that the matting on his face was so thick, his eyes were scarred from the matting constantly brushing against them.

Fortunately, his new owner had no concern about his eyes and he is in a loving, caring environment.

Several dogs I have been in contact with have not been socialized, or they are so frightened of rejection, they tremble with fear and scream when you attempt to touch them. Over time, when they gain trust, usually they will overcome that fear and you see a spark of life in their eyes.

A small kitten was brought to me with hardly any fur, very sickly, and very near death’s door. Upon examination from the vet, it was determined she had ringworm, and an upper respiratory illness. It took weeks for the virus to heal, and months for the ringworm.

By springtime she had all her fur back, and as I promised her, Jesus would turn her into a swan (a metaphor, of course). Her name is Pip-Miter: because of her being so sickly, her meow is more of a squeak than anything. Pip loves to play with water from the faucet and absolutely loves to play, cuddle, and do all the things that kitties are good at. Someone had left this little kitten to her own devices, and thank God, someone had enough heart to seek care for her.

These are just two cases, but there are many that happen every day, including using animals for bait in dog fights. There is a special place in hell for people who abuse, neglect, breed for profit, and do anything to harm an animal. God gave us dominion over the animals, but that does not give us the right to abuse them.

Here’s another story: a woman threw two of her declawed and house-kept cats outside to fend for themselves. One of them died in a dog box during the winter months; the other is being cared for after repeated calls to the owner, who adamantly refused to take him back in. Her excuse was — she could no longer afford to feed them. Why not call around and ask for help? Find a home for them? There are options.

Caring for animals is indeed costly and causes extra work in the household. The rewards of pet ownership far outweigh the burden, when it comes right down to it. Where else in the world can you receive such devotion, companionship, love, and free entertainment? Watching animals play is hilarious, and playing with them forms a lasting bond.

Shelters are overburdened, with purebred and Heinz 57s, and can in no way meet the emotional and physical needs of each animal. No one can. But, if everyone opened their hearts and let an animal in, reported cases of abuse and neglect, puppy mills, etc., the lives of animals and humans would surely be enriched.

Of course, spaying and neutering is always a plus, which would definitely prevent a lot of overpopulating and homeless strays. Breeders should be limited as to how many litters they can have, and all puppy mills should be shut down. Unless serious steps are taken to stop this, epidemic proportions will be reached. Rescue sites are forever sharing stories of horrible abuse and neglect, and there lots of times it happens across the street, next door, or right under your nose.

Let’s help these sweet creatures who are willing to give so much and ask little in return.

Debbie Hilton

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