To the Editor:
In light of the recent, horrific, animal cruelty and neglect incidents in St. Lawrence County, which have included a living dog that was thrown out in a trash bag, I would like to share some information about this very important issue.
Animal cruelty can be either deliberate abuse or simply the failure to take care of an animal. In either case, whether the animal is a pet, a farm animal, or wildlife, the victim can suffer terribly. Sometimes, people with emotional problems beat, shoot, stab or set animals on fire.
Those who abuse animals are very likely to be violent to other people—even their own family. Neglect is a form of abuse and involves not giving an animal the right food, water, shelter or vet care. Because neglected animals misery goes on for so long, animals who die of neglect can suffer just as much as animals who are harmed on purpose.
Animal hoarding is a special case of neglect when people keep higher than usual numbers of animals as pets (visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pet) without having the ability to properly house or care for them. Hoarders are in denial about their inability to care for their animals and do not usually seek help or surrender their animals so they may receive proper care. In New York State there are laws that protect animals from abuse and neglect, and in some cases animal abuse can be a felony.
Animal abuse and neglect isn’t isolated to cities. Several recent incidents of animal cruelty and neglect have highlighted the issue for St. Lawrence County residents that want to bring an end to this horrible crime. These citizens have formed a volunteer group known as the St. Lawrence County Animal Protection Coalition.
The group is comprised of representatives from the public, animal welfare organizations, the Sheriff’s office, District Attorney’s office, and County Legislators. The Coalition has worked hard over the last year to develop an action plan to decrease animal cruelty in our communities. The key to stopping the abuse is education. People that observe incidents of neglect and abuse are encouraged to contact law enforcement officials to report these crimes.
Together, we can make our communities a better place to live by stopping animal abuse.
Carrie Tuttle, Chair of St.
Lawrence County Animal Protection Coalition, Vice-President,
Potsdam Humane Society