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Animal welfare ordinance would protect our most vulnerable

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

People who deal with animals and the animal welfare laws in North Carolina know that some of them are very weak and do not adequately address all of the elements needed to provide law enforcement officers with the tools they need to protect the well-being of animals and provide for their humane treatment.

Kim Parrish, president of the SPCA of Northeastern North Carolina, knows about these deficiencies in both local and state laws and should be commended for proposing improvements that address some of these deficiencies. This issue is not about hunters or senior citizens who take their dogs to nursing homes to visit the dog's previous owners. In 25-degree weather is the dog relegated to a dog house that is a round steel drum with no insulation in it or is it an insulated igloo dog house turned so that the door is not facing the north wind?

Animal control officers need the authority to go onto someone's property and make sure that dogs at least have adequate shelter, food and water. Dogs are social animals and people are their packs. A dog chained outside for many hours with little or no human interaction is deprived of the basic elements of his being — much as it would be for a person to be confined alone to a 10-foot by 10-foot desert island for his lifetime. Humane treatment of animals includes human interaction as well as adequate food, shelter and veterinary care.

As a recent letter to your newspaper about this proposed county animal welfare ordinance stated, the ordinance "is a tool that law enforcement can use to educate the public and require humane treatment of animals." Hunting dogs must be in top condition to adequately hunt, so hunters should be in the front of the line in supporting this ordinance. Also keeping these highly trained dogs off private property is a safety precaution for both the dogs, their owner, and the property owner. The humane treatment of animals is not a political issue; it is an issue about people doing the right thing for the sake of the well-being of the animals who are totally dependent upon them for their health and well-being.

People who have pets are often attracted to areas that have strong animal welfare laws and amenities for their pets such as dog parks and restaurants that cater to both pets and their owners. There are 60.2 million households in America with pets. Seventy-five percent of them consider their dog to be a member of their family; 50 percent of them consider their cat to be a member of their family. We have laws that protect children. With this ordinance here is a chance to provide better protection for the most vulnerable among us — our animals.

Ginger Sikes

Currituck

Editor’s note: The author is president of the Animal Lovers Assistance League, Inc.

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