Thursday, March 01, 2007
The recent spate of animal abuse cases that have been highlighted in the papers have horrified me, but are in my opinion, just a very small percentage of the actual number of abuse cases.
Interestingly, abuse cases does not seem to be confined to acts of cruelty towards mongrels or mutts. There have been a large number of cases where abuse have been inflicted on pedigreed or thorough bred animals - Sheena the German Shepherd was one good example, though not the only one.
I have also personally seen irresponsible breeders where their dogs and puppies are kept in appalling conditions, which in my eyes constitute abuse.
Two weeks ago, I highlighted the case of Wallace - a lovely Labrador that was abandoned and mistreated. (See also Malaysiakini.)
Then of course I have had my own personal experiences where I have rescued and adopted 2 pedigree dogs that were neglected in the past.
Lucille, our beloved Pomeranian
Lucille was a beautiful Pomeranian that we rescued just outside our house in 1992. She was, we believe dumped, because she suffered from severe epilepsy. With proper care and affection, Lucille lived happily with us until she died in 2005, although our vet told us that her chances were slim.
Summer the Silky Terrier
Then there was Summer, a Silky Terrier, that we rescued in 2005, again just outside our house, who was also neglected and probably abused (as she had some scars on her tummy). Summer had a very bad case of heartworms, severe ear infection, nails that had curled inwards into her paws, rotten teeth and fur that was matted so badly I had to almost cut everything off. We have treated her for her condition and she is doing great now. She is currently living a pampered life with my father.
These were the 2 pedigreed dogs that we took in ourselves. We have rescued several other pedigreed dogs from off the streets which we sent to the SPCA as we just could not accomodate more dogs in our very small house.
We have also rescued a number of mutts / mongrels / pariahs - whatever you would like to call these dogs over the years.
Johnny and Cleo
We adopted one in 1993 when he was about 2.5 years old. Johnny was quite the neighbourhood tyrant at the time - but interestingly he turned out to be one of the most loyal dogs that we ever had. He turned from a fairly aggressive dog into a docile, loving dog who was fiercely protective of all of us in the family including our rescued Lucille. Johnny lived with us till a ripe old age, and passed away late last year...
Lucky, the Mongrel Pup
Currently Lucky, the abused mongrel puppy that we picked up from off the street, is also turning out to be a real lovely boy. He's still afraid of strangers but he's coming out of his shell slowly but surely. And although he is a mongrel that has been abused so badly at a very tender age, and therefore has no reason to trust humans again, he has shown us that animals seem to have a great capacity to forgive. He greets us happily whenever we come home and can hardly wait to get out of his room to play with us everyday. He is running round my feet as I am typing this... and yes he lives indoors (as I believe all dogs should be kept indoors and protection is no excuse for keeping dogs outside) with us although he is a mongrel.
So what exactly am I trying to say here? I think that abuse cases happen more than we know it, and that animal abusers do not differentiate between mongrels or pedigrees. Therefore I would like to stress that stricter rules and harsher are required to curb if not eliminate animal abuse. This issue needs to be addressed by the government urgently as animal abuse cases also reflects badly on the country and its people.
At the same time, education and awareness on animal welfare issues are incredibly important. This is to ensure that people who are thinking of acquiring a pet, be it pedigree or not, know that great responsibility comes along with owning a pet. A great amount of time and effort is required in looking after the pet's health and well being (nutrition and exercise). People must not forget that having a pet also means additional expenses - more so with pedigrees. All too often people start to neglect or abuse their pets after the "cute" factor has worn off.
All potential or current dog owners should go through this checklist and try to keep to these suggestions to ensure a safe environment for dogs and dog owners alike. At the end of the day, regardless of whether a dog is a pedigree or a mongrel, how a dog behaves boils down to how its owner has treated it. Therefore if a dog behaves badly, the owner should be the one to be blamed and punished, NOT THE DOG!
Finally, Remember a Dog is for Life!!!