Don't be Fooled -- Cruelty Is In Our Own Back Yard

Animal cruelty is usually a topic that no one wants to talk about. The deplorable conditions in which some pets are kept; the neglect that leaves animals hungry, thirsty, cold, and ill; the physical abuse many animals experience on a daily basis; the deliberate abuse and torture that is considered "fun" by some segments of the population; all these and more are the reality of what takes place right around us in our safe, secure communities.

The entertainment world in the past was less than paradise for many animals in films. People look the other way at rodeos when bulls are shocked and bucking straps tightened. Calves suffer neck injuries and death from being yanked into the air and slammed to the ground.

Circuses have long had the worst of reputations for their treatment of the animals who people assume are well treated, but in fact are often beaten into submission to learn "tricks" and spend long dreary hours chained or caged, waiting for the next performance. Stunning wild lions and tigers are whipped and cowed. Elephants, one of the most intelligent and sensitive of creatures, shuffle around the ring, lame from their lack of space and movement. The public outcry over their treatment has encouraged Ringling to phase out these acts sometime this year.

And in our own state, the shame of hiding the treatment of Tennessee Walking Horses has crossed the country and back to dirty our reputation. In 2017 Tennessee made the Humane Society's Horrible 100 list, citing a puppy mill with no fewer than 47 counts of animal cruelty in Mercer, TN. The evening news is no stranger to reports of dog-fighting rings. When they are discovered, the misery and mistreatment of these dogs and other bait animals is staggering, Even hardened investigators are moved to tears.

The clothing and restaurant industry allow cruelties in the name of fashion and cuisine. Paté de Fois Gras is the result of shoving metal pipes down the throats of ducks and geese multiple times a day to force feed them until their livers swell to ten times the normal size. If you own a down jacket, or comforter, know that it was manufactured because a goose as young as eight weeks old was restrained and had its feathers ripped out by hand. That will happen every eight weeks until it is slaughtered. In the fur farming business, animals are poisoned, electrocuted, have their necks broken, or in some countries are skinned alive. Labeling is sketchy with manufacturers labeling real fur as fake in order to fool customers.

Factory farm animals live in filthy, cramped cages; mother pigs cannot turn around in the space allotted; chickens live with hundreds of others, lucky if they can claim a space the size of a record jacket. Veal calves face the same lack of space (crates about 30" x 72"), are denied exercise, are anemic from the formula they are fed, and often suffer from extended diarrhea.

The list can go on and on. And though we hope that we are different, animal cruelty has surfaced again right here in Franklin County. A gentle Beagle was shot in the back of the head, stuffed and tied into a garbage bag, and left to die in the trash. The list of people and agencies who participated in his rescue includes the man who discovered the trash bag moving, Animal Control officers, Winchester Officer Wrisner, Town and Country Veterinary Hospital, and Animal Harbor. This was a true concerted effort to give this dog another chance at a good life with a loving family.

These are the moments when our lighthouse symbol means the most. We shine the light of discovery and protection on ill, unwanted, abused, and abandoned animals. We treat their bodies with meds and their damaged spirits with affection. We try to find the best possible homes for them. And then, we do it all over again the next day.

If you want to stand against animal cruelty in any form, take action:

  • champion laws that protect animals and punish their abusers;
  • alert Animal Control or the police to cruelty that you see;
  • write to your government representatives to voice an opinion;
  • don't participate in activities that are harmful to animals;
  • purchase wisely;
  • join us at Animal Harbor to fight the good fight for Franklin County animals.

Be a Harbor Hero and Stand Against Animal Cruelty!

SPRING INTO SPRING WITH A HEALTHY PET!

A few tips for keeping your pet safe and snazzy as Spring approaches.


Vaccinations and Wellness Checks:

  • Are your pets up-to-date on their vaccinations?
  • How long has it been since their last overall check-up?

Fleas and Ticks:

  • Check your pets regularly for fleas and ticks and use the appropriate preventative as directed.
  • A flea comb for cats is an inexpensive and sure fire way to spot fleas and flea dirt, while using your hands to detect ticks is best for dogs.

Mosquitoes and Heartworm:

  • Give your dog or cat the benefit of heartworm protection year round with a preventative medication.
  • Remember that these meds need to be given on the same date of each month.

Easter Celebrations:

  • Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs, and real lilies can be fatal to cats.
  • Plastic grass can lead to serious digestive tract obstructions.
  • Resist the urge to buy chicks and bunnies which often need special care.

Open Windows and Second Floor Balconies:

  • Both are accidents waiting to happen for curious pets.

Dogs in Truck Beds:

  • You can lose a pet or have it thrown out of the vehicle during sudden braking.
  • Never leash or chain a dog in a truck bed as a jump over the side can lead to serious injury or strangulation.
  • Hot metal can cause paw pad burns, and leave no place for a dog to lie down.

Gardening:

  • Be careful with garden chemicals, fertilizers, and mulch.
  • Dogs who like to dig can unearth toxic bulbs such as hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, and some lilies.

Around Town

  • Let your dog make new friends and have fun in a safe fenced in area (such as the Winchester Dog Park when it opens).
  • Give your dog time to smell the surroundings when you are out walking. It's a dog's way of "window shopping." Think how glum you would be if you were always yanked away from every great new sale.

Enjoy the Spring, and Keep your Pets Safe and Healthy!