The Herald Bulletin

March 8, 2014

Maleah Stringer: Don't ignore this face of animal abuse

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Apollo came to us two weeks ago as a stray. A woman said she found him on the street by her house. She brought him to the Animal Protection League. Apollo has been abused. It appears that Apollo has been kept in a small crate 24/7 and not been fed. He is approximately 30 pounds under weight.

Apollo has pressure sores all over his body from rubbing the crate every time he would move. His feet and lower legs are stained yellow from standing in his own urine. The bone in his tail was exposed. He is not neutered, of course. He was dehydrated from not having enough fluids. His ears show signs of frost bite. He was so weak he could not stand. He was covered in blood.

It was painful to look at Apollo. Particularly if you looked into his eyes. It was particularly painful to know that humans who are supposed to be the superior species did this to him. Simply because they could. Who was to stop them? Apollo has no voice; he can not call the police and report he is being physically abused and slowly starved to death. Take a moment with that thought. What if all the animals in the world could actually somehow send a text or make a phone call that they were being abused, asking for help. Just think of how many that would be.

Apollo was taken to the veterinarian where he remained for a week. He is now back with us at the shelter. And through all of this he has not lost his trust of humans. He is putting weight back on and his injuries are healing. He is testimony to the resilience of animals hearts and spirits.

We are seeing more and more animal abuse in Madison County. It has always been here; perhaps people are simply stepping up and bringing us these animals. Or it could be a reflection of the heart of our community. As I have said before; I believe how we treat animals is a reflection of who we are. Morally and spiritually. It is a reflection of our humanity, our compassion. It speaks to how we treat the elderly and our children, it speaks to how we treat those in our community who have no voice. Animal abuse can be a red flag that a child and or woman are being abused in that home. It is an indication of our empathy toward each other.

Is the face of emaciated, abused animals the face we want to show the world? Is this who we want people from other towns and states to think we are? Animal abuse is a problem in our city and our county. The question remains: how long are those who can change the laws going to turn their heads and allow this to get even more out of control than it already is? There is a connection between animal abuse and human violence, and not dealing with it does not make it go away. It helps it to continue and allows the abusers to become more abusive and bold.

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