01/09/09 — Animal neglect: There are many who just don't get animal care is responsibility

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Animal neglect: There are many who just don't get animal care is responsibility

We can't talk about the latest installments of animal cruelty here because they have not yet been adjudicated -- and therefore the alleged perpetrators are innocent until proven guilty.

But even after hundreds of hours of education for decades, there still seem to be some people who do not get that they cannot just simply abuse or neglect a dog, cat, farm animal or any other pet under their care.

You see the stories on television across the country -- people who simply throw a dog or cat out in the back yard without food or water and wait for it to die.

And, sad to say, there are plenty of cases of people who ignore their responsibilities to their pets right here in Wayne County.

The sad thing about animal abuse is not just that these people take a trusting, innocent animal and destroy it, cruelly and with little regard for the sadness and pain they are causing.

It is that it often indicates a lack of respect for life in any form.

There are often cases of child abuse and neglect in homes where the animals are also in need of food and care. Officials say it is an indicator that the adults in the household are more concerned with their own comfort than that of the innocent beings under their control and responsibility.

And animal cruelty can also be a signal of other illnesses as well. Many serial killers and other criminals have backgrounds that involve some sort of animal cruelty -- the first indicator of their lack of respect for life.

There are some cases of surrendered animals that also reflect the state of this nation, too.

People take on the responsibility of a pet and find that it is more difficult or expensive than they thought it would be. Rather than acknowledging their need to step up and do what is right and just, they dump their problem in a field or at a shelter for someone else to handle.

These stories often make us shake our heads and wonder what the world is coming to, but they should also make us think about how to put a stop to neglect and abuse in any form.

Stricter laws and more money for investigation and prosecution of those who violate the law could have a positive effect in other areas of law enforcement. Getting these people in the system and in custody could prevent other, more dire, crimes.

And for those who are considering a new pet, remember, you are taking the care of a living thing that could be around for more than a decade. Make sure you understand and are willing to accept that commitment.

Published in Editorials on January 9, 2009 10:37 AM