Most of us here on Dogster and Catster find it hard to understand animal neglect and abuse. After all, the sort of person who creates a web page for his cat probably has a pretty pampered pet!
Sadly, not every animal is so lucky. A reader named Anna recently contacted me and told me about her organization, Sunbear Squad. Sunbear was a chocolate Labrador who died of neglect after six weeks of being trapped in a laundry room. Sunbear’s story is heartbreaking, and it affected large numbers of people. It led to stricter animal abuse and cruelty laws in Sunbear’s home state of West Virginia.
Sunbear’s story also led to the creation of Sunbear Squad. Their website contains a wealth of information on recognizing, preventing and fighting animal abuse and neglect.
A news item in the February 15, 2008 Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association points out that more states are enacting legislation to protect animal welfare. According to the Journal, cruelty to animals is a felony in 43 states. Several states provide immunity to veterinarians who report suspected neglect or abuse. Colorado now requires veterinarians to report such suspicions.
We have a long way to go before all cats and dogs are treated as well as the ones on Catster and Dogster. But I am glad that there are people out there working to make it happen.