EDITORIAL: Animal abandonment, cruelty a societal problem

Carole Morris-Underhill
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We live in a throw-away society. If something breaks, gets dented, or causes us grief, it gets tossed out, set aside or neglected. If we grow bored of an item, we replace it with something newer, something better, something exciting.

This holds true, sadly, for more than just everyday items. For some people, companion animals are on Earth for enjoyment only and when they become too much of a burden, they get kicked to the curb.

The Hants County branch of the SPCA witnesses this throw-away mentality far too often. Adult cats are left to fend for themselves, dogs are tied up outside with little to no human contact, and helpless kittens are ditched on the side of the road or in a box in a parking lot.

Just this year, the SPCA helped three adult cats that were abandoned, left in a pet carrier outside on a cold winter's day. There's no telling what could have happened to the trio had someone not spotted them.

The SPCA issued a plea this month as the non-profit organization is scraping the bottom of the barrel. Like many non-profit groups, they are struggling to stay afloat while still meeting the needs of the community. And the needs of Hants County are great.

With veterinary bills ringing in as much as $50,000 a year, plus kennel boarding fees and day-to-day supplies, it's easy to see how a volunteer-driven group could find themselves struggling to pay the bills.

Due to their financial hardship, they've had to all but halt the intake of animals. With kitten season fast approaching, and many adult cats and kittens still waiting patiently for forever homes, the community needs to act now to help right the ship. For without community support, the SPCA won't be able to continue its mandate to help unwanted, abandoned or abused animals. And that means there will be even more strays wandering the streets, begging for scraps, getting in fights and procreating. In turn, that means other animal rescue organizations in the county will become inundated with more requests for help. It's a vicious cycle, and one that the community must take a role in breaking.

How we choose to treat the most vulnerable, be it children, the elderly, the infirm or animals, is a direct reflection of our values. As a society, we must defend those that cannot do it themselves. By supporting causes like the SPCA and Friends of Ferals, we are directly helping those without a voice.

With winter dragging on, and funds low for many vital, non-profit organizations, there's no better time to volunteer, become an active member, fundraise, or donate cash or supplies.

 

Organizations: SPCA, Hants County SPCA

Geographic location: Hants County, Windsor, Nova Scotia West Hants Hants County War Memorial Community Centre

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