One Good Thing – Better dog care needed

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Two resolutions will be presented to the Warren County Commission this Monday, and I really hope that they will receive due attention. I am speaking of the Humane Tethering and Humane Sheltering resolutions that are being submitted by the Health and Welfare Committee for approval at the full committee meeting.

While I don’t particularly like dogs tied outside, I would at least like to see a higher standard of grooming for those who are tied outside. This is exactly what the new guidelines aim to achieve: to outline a basic standard of care for dogs that live outside.

All too often I see dogs in inadequate conditions, and it is really heartbreaking to know that these dogs will always live in misery or without adequate living conditions because the vague outlines in the law allow them to get by on below average accommodation. They are tied up outside, forgotten and largely cut out of the everyday life that they want to enjoy with their families

Dogs are social beings. They long for the camaraderie humans have bred them over millennia – they need us to survive, and that’s how we created them. They are living, breathing beings who are capable of complex thinking and also feel pain, hunger and happiness. It is our responsibility as pet owners to ensure that they get everything they need as soon as they come to our families.

While personally I would never tether a dog as a permanent measure, I understand that other people may wish to do so for various reasons, and I am willing to encounter them in the middle, provided that dogs are kept in appropriate conditions. I’ve seen dogs outside that have everything they need and they appear to be healthy. I have fewer problems with it than the dogs who so often end up at Animal Control in such poor condition that they are skin and bones, plagued by health problems, and have no idea how to treat people. If you want to know how severe animal cruelty is in the county, be sure to stop by or ask the staff what they saw – it will open your eyes.

The people who properly care for their animals have nothing to fear from the resolutions. I have attended several sessions in the process of developing these policies and the key point has always been to educate the public about better practices. Some just need a gentle hand to show them what they can do to improve their animal husbandry, and that is what the Committee on Health and Welfare sees – that is their goal.

When these two resolutions are put to the full commission, I hope they will endorse them on behalf of Warren County’s animals, which have no voice of their own. Better animal welfare in Warren County is long overdue.

Standard reporter Nikki Childers can be reached at 473-2191.