Letter: City must re-evaluate mission of animal control

To the editor:

To Protect and Serve?

Many people are familiar with this motto, usually associated with your local police department. Opinions vary greatly on how accurate this motto is, but by and large officers are just like anyone else, trying to do a job.

This letter is not an attack on our local police, but is meant to be a voice for the numerous domestic animals (dogs, cats, etc.) that are routinely neglected (and unfortunately sometimes abused) in our town on a daily basis. The reason the police are mentioned is that there is an animal control officer attached to the police department. This is the person we are supposed to contact if and when we become aware of neglect or abuse of an animal.

The question is, do we have an official whose responsibility it is to protect an serve on behalf of the previously mentioned neglected and abused animals? Of course not, it would seem. Everyone who reads this and takes a few seconds to reflect will know of a past or ongoing instance of neglect or abuse of an animal in this town that should have been (or possibly was) reported. Unfortunately, even when the conditions the animal is kept in are terrible and it was reported to the city, typically nothing in the animal’s life changes, they’re still there, still being neglected or abused, or not being fed or watered for days on end. I know of such a case.

There is a property on the city’s near southeast side where two dogs are kept. I have friends in the neighborhood and have watched the lack of care shown these dogs over the last couple of years and have made multiple calls to the animal control officer about them. The dogs have (I’ve been told) never been to a veterinarian, regularly go without food and water for several days (both in frigid winter and broiling summer temperatures) and are rarely acknowledged by their owners.

The owner’s method of feeding them is to pour a pile of dry dog food on the ground near each dog. The dogs are male and female, and the female is fenced in a small area separated from the male (they’re rumored to be neither spayed or neutered), and the male is chained to a pole in the open part of the fenced in area adjacent to the female. The dry food is quickly contaminated by being stepped in, rained on, and of course both the male dog and female have no choice but to relieve themselves on or near the food.

This is one example of neglect that one person knows about, how many people know of heartbreaking cases like this?

What kind of people would treat animals this way? Why do these people still have possession of these (albeit very thin and malnourished looking) beautiful dogs, when they could have the chance of being adopted by a loving, attentive person or family? What we need is not animal control, but animal advocacy, to give desperate, neglected, abused animals the voice they don’t have.

The lack of change in the plight of these animals cannot be blamed entirely on the animal control officer; the city needs to re-evaluate their mission in this regard and show compassion and purpose to help these victims of neglect and abuse, who face each day bravely, despite being property of people who clearly have no business having animals.

Marion Baetz