EDITORIAL: Animal welfare must be a priority for leaders

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Recent headlines about the seizure of dogs from a Perry County man’s home generated plenty of buzz and an outpouring of concern and assistance for those rescued animals.

We hope the positive response helps generate long-term support for efforts to prevent similar cases of animal abuse or neglect in the future. But for that to happen, more of us need to get involved in helping control our local pet population and supporting advocates who want to put in place common-sense measures to protect animals.

Most pet owners devote great care to their animals. However, not all animals are that fortunate.

We commend efforts by police and animal-rescue groups in handling the alleged abuse last month. We also give our support to a local committee’s efforts to protect animal rights. The News reported in January that the committee hopes to present ordinances to levy fines on violators who fail to take proper care of their animals. That money would be used to support countywide animal control and protection.

Let’s be clear that we’re giving our support to modest measures designed to prevent abuse and identify cases of true neglect. We’re not advocating new rules on livestock producers, hunters or trappers.

In many ways, Perry County has come a long way in animal control and protection in the past several years. Our county is fortunate to have an animal shelter staffed by trained, caring people who have the best interests of animals at heart. It offers not only an adoption point for pets in need of homes, but also volunteer opportunities for adults and teens.

We believe the county needs to keep and provide training for an animal-control officer and to continue lending its financial support to the very good work done by the shelter and humane society.

What we all can do:
• Have our pets spayed or neutered. This simple step can prevent unwanted litters of kittens and puppies.
• Report cases of animal neglect and abuse. None of us, we hope, would allow the abuse or neglect of a child. Doing so is a crime. Likewise, we should report any reasonable suspicion we have that animals are not being treated as they should.
• Donate to groups that provide care to animals. The animal shelter and the Humane Society of Perry County are nonprofit organizations that rely on donations for much of their support. The shelter does contract with the county and communities to provide services. However, it also relies on private contributions.

Get involved. Find out what you can do to help safeguard the rights of animals in Perry County. For more information on the Perry County Animal Shelter, call 547-6381 or visit www.petfinder.com/shelters/IN199.html.

Our view: Editorials reflect the opinions of the newspaper.

Your view: Tell us what you think. E-mail us at editor@perrycountynews.com or mail your comments to P.O. Box 309, Tell City, IN 47586.