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Letters to the Editor - Aug. 5

August 04, 2011

People must take responsibility for their pets

To the editor:

I read with great interest the Sunday (July 31) articles beginning on page A1, "Who's In Control?" I also read the column regarding lost animals on a daily basis and follow the stories regarding dog attacks on farm animals.

I often watch the TV show "Animal Patrol," not for the sensationalism, but to help me wrap my head around the fact that we, human beings, can say we love our pets, and starve them, allow them to be flea- and tick-infested, dehydrated, tied to a tree in severe weather, frozen to trees, bred all their lives from their first heat never knowing what human touch feels like, thrown out of cars unwanted and allowed to wander aimlessly and confused, hit by cars and left by the side of the road, taught to attack just because their owner thinks it's macho, puppies and kittens acquired only because they're cute, households with pets living in their own feces.  

My brain cannot even conceive of this. And, yet, it does exist.  Much of this has occurred right in our own area, as attested to in our own news reports. We expect our Humane Society to police it all.

So, whose responsibility is it to control the animals? Not the Humane Society. It is the animal owner. You see, when you have an animal, it is your responsibility, and mine (I adopted a wonderful puppy-mill dog) to make sure that it is treated with respect and love, that training is not discipline and consequences, that it takes its place in society and learns to live with human beings. It is our responsibility to make sure that its rights are met: those rights of food and water, shelter from the elements, love and compassion, safety, medical care and education. If we cannot provide these, we have no business having a pet or any other animal.

And, guess what. It is yours for life. I also believe that this city and county, in order to show responsibility, need to put in place a strict leash and containment law. It is irresponsible to allow animals to roam, causing potential harm to them and to others. The powers that be are not in control.

This county commission will not have to even think about allocating more money for an animal control officer, the Humane Society will not need one, there will be fewer horrible stories for me to read. My brain can rest.

Sybil Schiffman

Hagerstown



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