The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Columns

May 17, 2014

Maleah Stringer: Changes needed to combat irresponsible pet owners' behavior

The winter of 2014 was one we won't soon forget — for a number of reasons.

For the Animal Protection League we will remember it because of the high number of animals who came into our care who had been neglected/starved and abused. There is a segment of this community who think that when they vacate a property, they do not have to take their pets with them. If the pets are lucky, they are found and given care. If not, they starve to death. These pet owners also leave them out in sub-zero weather to freeze to death. This behavior basically goes unpunished.

So far it looks as if the spring of 2014 will prove to be as brutal as the winter as it pertains to animals. In the month of April we took in 239 animals. This is in addition to the 200+ we already had at the shelter, not to mention all the animals in the prison programs and foster care.

To be clear, the facility at 613 Dewey St. is an open admission shelter for the residents of the City of Anderson. That means if someone lives inside the city, full or not, we have to take their animals. We are also contracted with Madison County Sheriff's Department to take bite cases, aggressive and/or injured animals, and animals in hoarding or abusive situations. Even if we are full.

It takes a great deal of money to care for the animals in shelters. We are willing to take animals from inside the county, but we ask for a donation of some sort to help us with the financial burden. Most folks do not think they should have to pay us anything, that somehow taking over their responsibility for their pets is our job and we should find the money.

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