Fighting animal cruelty

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Some otherwise peaceful folks have been pondering lately what manner of punishment might be fit for Michael Vick. Some may have fantasized about him getting the same kind of treatment those dogs allegedly received on his property.

"I don't know what they need," one area animal activist growled about suspected dogfighters.

Down girl! We share your revulsion. But Vick is still innocent until proven guilty. And even if convicted, he has every right to get better than he gave.

After all, what reportedly happened to those animals was cruel and, one would hope, unusual.

Others want to vent their anger in letters and e-mails to the Atlanta Falcons and the National Football League, which is fine. And protesters are sure to dog Vick throughout his criminal dogfighting case.

That's all well and good. But there may be a better way to channel your frustrations about the case.

Why not reach out to some of the animals in the CSRA who need a home - or lend a hand to the cash-strapped agencies and organizations helping abandoned animals?

Wouldn't that be the best answer to the Michael Vick case - if it deepened our commitment to taking care of companion animals?

You can help in any number of ways, in a surprisingly wide array of organizations. (We've listed some of them with this editorial.)

You can contribute your time, your talent or your treasure. Every agency's needs will be different. Call and find out how you can help.

Plus, not only can you adopt a pet, you can provide a temporary foster home, through such agencies as Molly's Militia. Named for a dog adopted by Elaine van der Linden, the organization she founded (803-279-7003) takes animals from shelters, gets them up to speed medically and adopts them out.

Warning: Becoming a foster home is such a fetching experience that nearly every one of them becomes a permanent home for at least one animal.

Van der Linden has eight of them.

The Chronicle also is featuring video of adoptable pets online, at www.augustachronicle.com/pets.

"I want to take them all home," says our video producer Kim Luciani.

Well, she can't. But the rest of us can.

Those 18 and older can do as little as volunteer to walk dogs at Augusta Animal Services (706-790-6836).

Even if you've got all the animals you need, you can help by getting your pets spayed or neutered - or otherwise making certain they don't produce unwanted litters.

Many of us were horrified by the allegations in the Michael Vick case, and by seeing video of dogs attacking each other for "sport."

But something good can come of the case if it moves us to deepen our commitment to treating animals humanely.

Not everyone does that, and that leads to abused, abandoned and unwanted little creatures - most of whom don't ask for much, but give so much in return for a little food, shelter, care and compassion.

When others won't do it, the obligation to provide all that falls on the rest of society.

That - not any punishment the courts or the Falcons could mete out - would be the best thing to come out of this case.

PET PROJECTS

Some phone numbers to agencies that can help you help animals:

- Augusta Animal Services: (706) 790-6836

- CSRA Humane Society: (706) 261-7387

- Columbia County Humane Society: (706) 860-5020

- Humane Society of McDuffie County: (706) 556-9090

- Aiken Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: (706) 648-6863

- Molly's Militia: (706) 279-7003

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Rozzie2003
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Rozzie2003 07/29/07 - 12:00 pm
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Congratulations to the

Congratulations to the Chronicle's editorial staff for a balanced and sensible article about the Michael Vick's situation.

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