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Paws for a Cause: A new column from those who love animals

Who do you call when you see an animal suffering on a rural road, at midnight? What should you do when you find a box of kittens behind a dumpster? That depends on where in the county you are located. Community resources for animals welfare can be confusing, many rescue groups cater to only dogs, or only cats, others will assist in a certain geographical area, or will offer help if they have room. Because of this, many people have become comfortable ignoring the problem.

Several months ago I read a sad Facebook post. A local man had found a starving, injured dog alongside a rural road. He wrote “The dog is unable to stand, it’s friendly but covered in filth. I left it a bowl of food. Someone needs to check on this…” His words struck my heart, and the photo he posted showed a frail yellow lab mix lying in a heap of trash. The dogs eyes were sad and hollow. I had to help. I later found out that this dog was intentionally shot, paralyzed, and beaten with a hammer, then dumped and left to die weeks prior to being found. This is how I got involved in rescue. I didn’t plan to get involved, but I felt I had to do something. Quickly I realized that there is no organization of animal welfare resources in our area. The dog that was pulled from the mud, with his weeks of suffering, has spawned this column. He was picked up from the dump, a rescue paid for his medical evaluation, and donations are covering his recovery. His abuser is facing charges and a court date is set. This is the way it’s suppose to be handled, but sadly it usually isn’t.

Our county needs to unite for animal welfare. There are government divisions for children’s welfare and safety. We have a division of aging, as well as veteran’s affairs. However, we fall short when it comes to animal welfare. Unlike other counties, and other states, we have no official animal welfare department. The police are busy. The city animal control officers can’t write summons and have no control outside their city limits. Much of the need falls through the cracks.

With this column, I hope to shed light on the many issues concerning animal welfare in St. Francois County. Ultimately it is up to us to unite and make a change.

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