SOUNDOFF: Don’t dump family pets

Recently, I discovered a baby ferret with a tiny cage along Sleeper Road. It was obvious the little animal had been dumped close to the road and left to brave the traffic, birds of prey and the elements. It required veterinary attention for severe malnutrition and dehydration. It has since been placed in a loving home where it will live the rest of its life loved by a family.

Recently, a plastic sack containing three tiny kittens was discovered, also along Sleeper Road. One of the kittens did not survive and the other two were in dire need of veterinary care. They too, have been placed in a loving home. Another friend of mine has taken in a dog and a cat, both were dumped near her home.

These are only a few examples of pets that have been discarded, like garbage, along some of our Oak Harbor roads. Dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits and more have worn out their welcome and are left to the mercy of the roads, weather, coyotes and birds of prey.

These animals are left wondering what happened. They wonder why their owners dumped them. They wonder what they did wrong.

Animals are not garbage. They are living, breathing creatures with feelings. Yet people in this area, and unfortunately, in many areas, have absolutely no respect for the pets they own. They mindlessly indulge their children and when the children grow tired of the pet, they simply dump the animal along whichever road they deem fit. The children, in turn, are taught that this kind of behavior is acceptable and that pets can be treated like garbage and thrown out whenever they become a nuisance. This has got to stop!

Owning a pet is a huge responsibility. Whether the pet be a dog, cat, ferret, rabbit, horse...etc. It has to be fed, watered, given shelter and loving attention every day, several times a day. Many pets can live over 10 years if cared for properly. This means a long-term commitment on the part of the owner. If they are not able to commit to owning a pet and treating that pet with kindness and respect, they should not purchase the animal.

Sometimes circumstances prevent the owner from taking the animal when they move. Unfortunately, this happens, especially in a military community where moves can be sudden. However, the pet owner still has the enormous responsibility of making sure their pet is placed in a loving home. This may mean advertising in the local newspapers, putting up posters, or as a last resort, taking the pet to a local animal shelter. Potential homes should be inspected before the pet is given away to ensure that the pet will continue to live a happy life in its new environment.

Dumping your pet along a road is irresponsible, unacceptable and cruel. People considering this option should not own a pet in the first place. There are so many other options out there and laziness is no excuse for not exploring those other avenues.

I urge that if you need to find another home for your pet, that you be responsible for the safety and well-being of the animal that loves you. It is the least you can do.

My sincerest thanks goes out to those who have taken abandoned animals into their hearts and homes. God bless you.

E. Miller lives in Oak Harbor.

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