The Herald Bulletin

March 1, 2014

Maleah Stringer: Winter takes its toll on animals and shelters alike

The Herald Bulletin

---- — This winter has been difficult for animal shelters and humane societies. The Animal Protection League is bursting at the seams. We literally do not have space for one more cage. People are moving, people are turning their animals loose, leaving them in rentals and foreclosures. People are leaving their dogs chained up outside in kennels and not feeding them.

Two dogs came to us last week. The owners said they are moving and could not have their dogs. One dog is seven the other two. When we went around back to get the dogs my staff was horrified. They were both skin and bone. When they got out of the car both dogs ran to a melted snow puddle and drank as if they hadn't had water in days. The younger dog could barely stand. When questioned they said the dogs "might have been outside for awhile" during the really cold weather and maybe they hadn't eaten for over a week. They just didn't want to eat.

They drove away with us carrying in dogs too weak to walk. Both ate with no hesitation at our shelter. The younger dog was in such bad condition he required veterinarian care. Two weeks later both dogs are doing well. The Anderson Police Department is pursuing animal cruelty charges.

A woman brought in an emaciated dog. Pressure sores and cuts all over his body, covered in feces and urine. His feet are stained yellow as if he has stood in a crate in his own waste. His ears had frostbite and his face was swollen. There were areas that the skin over the bones was starting to tear. The woman said the dog was a stray. This dog collapsed and was in Devonshire Veterinary Clinic for a week. The thoughts are that this dog was living in a crate that was too small and not being fed.

I was going home after work. I saw a dog stumbling across Raible Avenue. A woman helped me catch this poor pathetic dog. He is blind, covered with mats and burs and lame it seems in all four legs. His condition did not happen overnight. But he did have a rhinestone collar, no tags. He too was taken to the Vet Clinic.

Dogs and cats are coming into our shelter every day in various stages of neglect. So much so that it seems that some in our community find this to be acceptable behavior. The trick is going to be finding the owners of these animals, once we do the Anderson Police Department will file the reports citing animal abuse. The key is to get them prosecuted for animal abuse and punished. Perhaps if we can do this it will send a message to those in our community who believe animal abuse is acceptable.

Meanwhile shelters, rescues, humane societies and private citizens are assuming the responsibility for these animals. Providing veterinary care, shelter, food and compassion for these poor pathetic animals. Please, if you see an animal in need, do not turn your head and wait for someone else to do something. If it is at a home, do not approach the owners. Call the police. People who abuse animals often pose a danger to humans. Call the police and let them handle the situation.

Maleah Stringer is executive director of the Animal Protection League, 613 Dewey St., Anderson. She can be reached at 356-0900 or at