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I've never counted myself a member of the animal-rights movement. I grew up on a farm caring for animals destined for the dinner table. I support farmers' right to raise animals for human consumption. I have no problem with wearing leather shoes and belts and packing around a bag made from hide. Though I don't have mink, fox or chinchilla in my closet, I think raising animals humanely for their pelts is fine and I would never fault anyone, housewife or fashion model, who feels like draping a fur around her shoulders. All that said, I believe in treating animals humanely, whether they are destined for the food supply or are someone's pets. That's why even I was mad at last Sunday's discovery of a mother cat and six kittens in a playhouse in Tell City's Sunset Park. I was biking through the park near dusk when I came across three other concerned pedestrians who had found the family of cats. Inside the enclosure, which is next to playground equipment, were the cats and a mound of dry cat food. I don't know exactly how the cats got there, but I assume that someone dumped them. If so, perhaps the culprit felt a tad guilty and placed the food there. Or maybe someone had seen the cats earlier and went home and got food for them. Maybe there's another explanation, but I doubt the cats were truly wild and the mother had chosen the playhouse to give birth to her kittens. First, the mother and kittens were quite tame. Secondly, the kittens were fat and healthy, signs to me they had been cared for by someone before being dumped. Why someone would dump a mother cat and kittens in a park is beyond me. Why not take them to the shelter? Why not put a free ad in our paper? Why not have the mother cat spayed to prevent the litter of kittens in the first place? The three folks planned to bring hay, milk and soft food for the feline family. But Rhea Gehlhausen, who works as the county's animal services officer, arrived that evening and took the mother and six kittens to the shelter in Cannelton. There they await adoption. Photos of the cats can be found online. If interested, call the shelter at 547-6381.
You don't have to be an activist to want to see animals cared for properly. Dumping them in a city park is never the answer.