Newspaper column from May 7th, 2013

Although my columns usually include things more of interest to the local community, I try to make much of each column of interest to everyone.  Comments and responses invited.



Well, Mother Nature wasn’t too kind to the community activities on Saturday. The rain canceled the Lawn and Garden Show at Richland County Mall and I’m sure many other activities. Shelter Friends did hold their Micro-chip clinic at the Community Building in the park, but the turnout was less than they had hoped. At least there are a few animals, who if they get lost, will have a much better chance of getting returned to their owners.

Like you, I often see ads on television for the Humane Society of the United States, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). These ads always feature a sad, starving, abused animal that will really tug at the heartstrings. A very sympathetic voice tells us that this organization saves animals and if we will just send them as little as $18.00 each month, it will help them to continue saving animals. Oh, if only this were true. These organizations each take in well over $100 million every year, and when their records are examined, a very small amount of this is ever spent on the welfare of animals. The head of the ASPCA recently retired from his $550,000 a year position. I know that it takes special talents and abilities to run very large organizations but a non-profit paying someone that kind of money to do primarily fund-raising? Seems rather ludicrous to me. I am sure there is a healthy expense account that goes along with that salary. If that salary were cut in half, think of the number of animals that could be spayed or neutered.

I read some time ago that the Massachusetts Humane Society was sitting on an endowment of about $250 million. An endowment is money set aside for special projects and is over and above normal operating expenses. What can they possibly be waiting for?

PETA, an organization that many people associate with protecting animals operates a shelter in Virginia. They are required to file annual reports with the state on the number of animals that pass through their doors and their ultimate fate. In their most recent filing, they show that over 90% of the animals that came into their shelter last year, left in plastic bags. Many of these dogs and cats were listed as adoptable. Why then, were they killed? Don’t take my word for it, check it out for yourself. I suggest checking sources other than the organizations themselves. Much information is available.

What I am trying to say is that if you are considering donating money to an animal welfare organization, why not keep your money close to home? The Humane Society of Olney does not kill animals that can be saved and has a track record of rehabbing injured or neglected animals so that they can live normal, loving lives. Shelter Friends helps support the operations of Animal Control. Many dogs and cats are alive and well today because of Shelter Friends. Both the Humane Society and Shelter Friends need and deserve our support.

I have noticed lately that more people who abuse animals are winding up in court and in some cases are being sentenced to prison. One man recently was given three years for beating his dog so badly that the dog lost an eye and had several broken bones. A woman in Florida got five years for killing a dog. Anyone who could do that to a dog is mentally ill and needs help, but probably won’t get that. Many serial killers began by torturing and killing small animals. If you see an animal that you think is being mistreated, call for help, there is plenty of help available.

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How can you kill a dog or cat?

I follow a lot of animal rescue sites on Facebook.  Many of them show dogs and cats that are due to be killed within a short period of time, usually a day or two.  The rescues are looking for foster homes and donations to cover vetting and other expenses.

My wife and I at the present time have five cats and two dogs.  I cannot understand how anyone could stick a needle full of poison into one of these dogs or cats pictured.  I can understand someone really needing a job, but when I see statistics of shelters that kill a hundred or more in a day, I would think it would eat away at a person’s soul.  I really think I would starve to death if killing healthy animals was my only source of food.

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What defines animal cruelty?  Abandoning an animal?  Leaving an animal at animal control without any information about health, likes, dislikes, behaviors etc?  My daughter recently got a very small dog from a breeder.  The animal was being kept in an outdoor cage in very cold weather.  Does that qualify as animal cruelty?  I see dozens of stories each week about abandoned dogs and cats who are injured, sick or on the verge of salvation.  I wonder how many of their owners ever face even criticism from their peers, much less being held legally responsible for the condition of their animal.  As a country we should be doing a much better job of taking care of our companion animals.

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