Special Letter to the editor
During my long career as a Veterinarian one of the most common situations brought to my attention were those of animal abuse and cruelty.
The Humane Society of the United States has made available to the public a very extensive brochure regarding numerous situations that qualify as abuse and cruelty. I would like to comment on these.
Most animal cruelty is in the form of neglect with direct violence occurring less frequently. Neglect is defined as a failure to provide the animals basic needs which include lack of clean food and water, inadequate shelter, tethering, abandonment and inadequate basic care for medical reasons. Direct abuse is defined as someone physically beating or attacking an animal. Violence toward animals is often part of a larger pattern of violence that can include people as well. Severe neglect may take the form of housing more animals than a person is able to adequately take care of; hoarding.
Observation of an animal that reveals open sores, scabs, hair loss, emaciation, ocular or nasal discharge can be a sign of untreated diseases.
As we approach summer months adequate shelter is extremely important as our temperatures can be deadly just as they are in the winter cold months, no animal should be exposed to extreme temperatures.
Chained dogs who are tethered continually suffer tremendously, both from social isolation and exposure to predators and the elements.
A startling number of animals die every year from abandonment. When people move out of their residence many of them leave the animals behind. It is wise to keep an eye on recently vacated houses and listen for dogs barking or cats howling.
As summer approaches we should be observant of pets left in cars that are parked. Even if the outside temperature seems reasonable the animal could be minutes away from death or irreversible organ damage. Authorities should be called immediately. Detail your locations and make, model and license plate number of the vehicle that animal is in.
When observing any of these abuse or cruelty situations do not get involved personally but do call the authorities immediately. The Town of Parker/La Paz County Animal Shelter Control Officers can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (928) 669-8774 or visit 309 7th Street, Parker, AZ.
Just remember your Pet is the only thing on earth that loves you more than it loves itself.
For a copy of the USHS bulletin for greater detail write to; The Humane Society of the United States, 1255 23rd Street, NW suite 450, Washington DC 20037 or email www.humanesociety.org
Joseph I. Leveque BS, D.V.M., BS Animal Shelter and Animal Relief Fund (ARF) Veterinarian