Don’t Let Helpless Creatures Suffer Because You Turned An Apathetic Blind Eye
By Rebecca Stroud // June 7, 2015
The Animal Advocate, By Rebecca Stroud
Starving horses, the dumping of cats, dog fighting rings and the use of “bait” puppies usually receive a lot of attention as well they should; all are obvious and blatant examples of animal abuse.
But what about the more subtle signs that some of us may notice on a daily basis? How does one actually know for sure that an animal is truly being mistreated and what to do about it?
One of my personal experiences with this issue was devastating. A little too late, it came to my attention that a 14-year-old dog had been living alone in an empty house for over a year.
He’d even managed to escape the yard, was found and taken to the county shelter but subsequently returned to the neighbor who was supposedly caring for him. Yet there were huge gaps in this story…a long, sad one that I will make very short.
We contacted the owner in New York and informed him that we were going to get the dog. And what a nightmare we found: No air conditioning/heat in the house, no rugs or soft bed…absolutely nothing but a pitiful bowl of dry food and hot water.
Consequently, the dog was an extremely emaciated mess; he was also half-blind, incognizant, and could barely walk. We scooped him up, took him home, fed him well, gave him as much love as possible and had him euthanized the next day.
I will always regret not getting to him in time but I also feel a lot of bitterness towards the people who lived nearby and should’ve called the authorities about this situation many, many months before we entered the picture.
Another episode was last summer when a new family moved in a few blocks away; about that same time, I began to hear a dog’s mournful howling from morning to night yet couldn’t pinpoint exactly where the pathetic moans were coming from until I finally investigated.
NO SHADE, NO SHELTER
Hidden behind a privacy fence, a beautiful white German shepherd was tied up to a shed right in the middle of the back yard all day long while the owners were at work; no shade, a small water bowl, no shelter from the horrific heat or the afternoon thunderstorms.
I (and others) contacted animal services and the owners were notified of the complaints; as I don’t see the dog or hear him cry anymore, the owners either rectified the situation or the dog has been rehomed.
Again, some signs of abuse are very visible, others not so much. But awareness is vital and so is getting involved. The bottom line can be summed up in two words: Speak up! If you even think that an animal is being abused, do not hesitate to contact the local police/sheriff’s department or humane society (you can do so anonymously and repeatedly, if necessary).
And, if worse comes to worse, rescue the animal yourself. But please err on the side of caution rather than allowing a helpless creature to suffer – or die – because you turned an apathetic blind eye.
Comments or questions? Please send to RebeccaStroud@aol.com with “The Animal Advocate” in the subject line.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Stroud is a former newspaper reporter and columnist. She is now an independent author who has published numerous books and stories, including The Killing Sands, Murder 9.0, Dragon’s Moon, Devil’s Moon, Do Unto Others, The Animal Advocate, A Three-Dog Night, Zellwood: A Dog Story and Jinxed.
In addition to writing, Stroud is an editor and avid animal lover. She lives in Cocoa with her husband and their adored catahoula-boxer mix.
To contact Stroud, e-mail RebeccaStroud@aol.com