Confronting Animal Cruelty John Peaveler - W. Fairlee, VT
The Humane Society of the United States worked with the Wolfeboro, NH police department to rescue 70 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill on June 16.
O n June 16, the lives of 84 Great Danes changed forever. Until that fateful day, they had been living in squalor, caged and confined in conditions so bad that
Confronting animal cruelty in the state of New Hampshire is extremely challengWolfeboro, New Hampshire, health officials condemned the $1.5 million property ing. Firstly, courts cannot forfeit animals where they had been living as unfit for habitation. Words somewhat fail to do justice who are seized during an enforcement in describing how bad the conditions for these animals were. This is not, however, a action until the end of what can be a story of their past. This is the story of their future and the efforts underway to trans- lengthy legal process, assuming a favorable form their lives and prevent cruelty like this from ever happening again. outcome for the animals. In other words, even if a veterinarian makes a legal declaration that the animals have illnesses and injuries consistent with animal neglect, and despite expert testimony that conditions in which the animals were housed constitute illegal animal cruelty, state law still gives the owner of the animals the benefit of the doubt until all possible legal challenges are made. The result of this situation is that whoever pursues an animal cruelty case must hold seized animals for months, or even years. Time itself is a serious problem. It is an unavoidable fact that no matter how well suited an animal shelter is, long-term housing of animals presents an age-old problem of getting the dogs enough positive stimulation to keep their stress levels low. Doing so preserves their mental health and gets them ready to live in homes if they are eventually released by the court. The regiment of toys, treats, walks, training and play groups under the care of professional trainers and behaviorists who know how to work with traumatized animals is expensive. Meanwhile, animals subjected to cruelty and neglect invariably suffer from a wide variety of medical conditions, most commonly malnutrition, matting, sores, parasites, injuries and disease. If you’ve ever paid a veterinary bill, you know even healthy animals are expensive. They need vaccines, preventatives, routine tests and Continued Next Page
10 4 Legs & a Tail
Published on Sep 7, 2017