The recent allegations of cruelty at the Calhoun County Animal Control Center have shocked and horrified us. We hope those in charge do a thorough investigation, inform us about their conclusions and make any necessary changes to protect the voiceless.
The alleged incidents described in the paper are troubling for a companionate community. But even more troubling is the number of companion animals housed in this facility over the past year. More than 5,500 unwanted animals were either turned in by owners or picked up as strays. Those housed at Anniston Animal Shelter on Parkwood (a no-kill facility) are not included in that 5,000; neither are those in small rescues throughout the county. Thus, the total number of homeless pets here is actually much larger.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” (Mahatma Gandhi). All one has to do is scan the sad faces on Pet Finder and see the tremendous number of mixed-breed dogs to know that Calhoun County needs a spay-and-neuter law and lessons on how to care for its companion animals. They need love and proper care: spaying/neutering, medical care when necessary including immunizations, heartworm and flea preventive, care when they are ill, good food, warm places to live, and good fences (not chains and a stake) to protect them. We can do better. We must do better.
A pet is not a store purchase that can be returned and should not become one more in that 5,000-plus who end up in the county facility. Don’t buy a pet for someone else. Don’t get a pet unless you are prepared to see it through its lifetime. Don’t advertise “free to a good home.” Do not send a pet to a “good home” unless you have personally checked that it is.
To quote Mahatma Gandhi again: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Start today.