When it comes to animals, there’s no question the difference they can make in our lives, and vice-versa.
They can lift our spirits, benefit our well-being and make us better people all-around. In turn, we have the ability – the responsibility – when we make the choice to own one, be it a family pet or a working farm animal, to ensure that they are well-cared-for, with everything they need to live content, healthy lives.
In recent weeks, Peace Arch News has reported on a range of animal/human stories. Sadly, the majority have been heartbreaking: Aug. 7, a seven-year-old girl was attacked by a family friend’s dog; Aug. 11, BC SPCA seized 57 severely neglected dogs, cats and horses from a South Cloverdale farm; and this week, animal-cruelty charges were announced against a woman accused of jamming lighters, jewelry, a fish hook and other objects down a dog’s throat.
Off-setting the sickening side of things is today’s story featuring Semiahmoo Animal League Inc., a South Surrey-based non-profit that works with rescued farm animals and at-risk children to break the cycle of violence (page 11).
There are many lessons to be learned from these stories.
From the attack on the little girl, we are reminded that animals can be unpredictable, and no matter how loving we know them to be, the reality is they can react in ways we don’t expect, when we least expect it.
From the SPCA seizure – which spurred an outpouring of support from the community – it’s fair to conclude that not everyone should own animals.
As for the animal-cruelty case involving the Labrador retriever – and in any case where an animal is intentionally harmed – words to describe those who are ultimately held responsible are not suitable for print. We can only hope such people are appropriately punished – and never allowed to own any animal.
We can take some comfort in knowing there are people, such as the SPCA constables involved in last week’s seizure, who act swiftly when they can to rescue creatures that, through no fault of their own, fall victim to the neglect or abuse of an unsuitable caregiver.
And, we have the efforts of groups like SALI to tip the scales even further towards the positive.
It’s up to all of us to foster the animal-human bond in a positive way, and be vigilant in holding accountable those who chose not to.