Taking care of pets should be everyone's concern

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You've probably seen it before. Maybe you have a neighbor who keeps a dog chained in the backyard, no matter what the weather is like. You worry about the animal. Is it being fed? Does it have shelter? Maybe you're afraid to get involved, so you let it go.

You see a cat in your front yard from time to time. Does anyone own the cat? Maybe you decide to put some food out for it. Is it spayed? You're not sure -- until you find a bunch of kittens living in your crawl space. What do you do?

Someone else will probably take care of it.

The neighbor down the street seems to have way too many cats. How can she care for them all? You're worried that she may be overwhelmed and afraid to ask for help.

Someone else will probably help.

Your child hears kids at school tell of seeing dogs being fought to see who was the toughest. You'd like to get involved, but you're afraid to report the incident.

Unfortunately, someone else doesn't always call in. According to the Humane Society of the United States, most cruelty complaints stem from simple neglect rather than deliberate abuse. The animal control officer's major role is that of an educator -- to teach well-meaning but unknowledgeable pet owners about the proper care of pets.

Sometimes, the owners know how to care for their pets but circumstances in their lives make it difficult. Occasionally, people who live on the edge financially can no longer feed their pets when they lose a job, go through a divorce, have unexpected medical conditions or an increase in their housing costs.

Others who get sick or suffer from a debilitating condition such as depression, paralysis, etc., may forget to feed and water their animals or may be unable to get out of bed to care for them.

If you know someone in one of these situations, the first step may be to simply ask if you can help.

If you don't know the person, you may want to contact your local animal enforcement agency and ask it to check on the animal.

If you live in unincorporated Aiken County, call (803) 642-1537. If you live in the city limits of Aiken, call (803) 642-7620. If you live within North Augusta city limits, call (803) 441-4298. If you have general questions about humane issues, you can always call the Aiken Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at (803) 648-6863 or e-mail spcaofaiken@yahoo.com. Be the someone else who steps in and helps.


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monicas 09/28/08 - 11:27 am
Thank you for these important

Thank you for these important reminders, especially about dogs that are kept chained. It is so hard to broach the subject of a neighbor's animals, and so much easier to just let it go. But please think of the suffering, voiceless creatures that rely on their human caretakers for everything. You will feel good about yourself for having done the right thing. Learn more about the plight of the perpetually chained dog and what we are doing to end the barbaric, antiquated practice of keeping dogs chained for their lives at www.dogsdeservebetter.org

realistineducation 09/30/08 - 01:45 pm
thank you for your support.

thank you for your support. so many people in the south think that a pet is property. not so, when you choose to adopt or purchase a pet, you are responsible for their wellbeing. you do not have the right to neglect an animal. people who chain their dogs to a tree should be chained themselves. people who starve their animals should be starved. people who deprive their animals of healthcare should be deprived of healthcare. people who engage in dog fighting should be subjected to having to fight for their lives.

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