2010-11-03 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

There are lots of “trolls” among us. Take a look at the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” below. This Poodle trio, abandoned outside an animal hospital, was severely matted, scared and malnourished. The photo shows them after shave-downs and multiple baths at Babylon Shelter. No one knows their background or the “troll” who dumped them. Nevertheless, the Poodles are getting care now. What about the countless neglected pets whom no one knows exist? I shudder to think how many are out there.

Dogs and cats cannot call 911 for help. There is so much animal suffering, more now because of the economy. Those seized by the SPCA, entering shelters or in the possession of humane groups are just the tip of the abuse/indifference iceberg. No matter how bad their condition, at least these animals are on the rescue radar screen. So many more remain hidden. Their plights fall into different categories:

Three Billy Goats Gruff” abandoned, neglected Poodles. Three Billy Goats Gruff” abandoned, neglected Poodles. • For most Pit Bulls confined outdoors, life is the pits. The LI town shelters are filled with discarded Pit types which presently comprise over 75% of the dogs at Babylon Shelter and similar percentages in other LI municipals. Only the totals differ. (For example, Babylon averages 40-50 dogs while Brookhaven has about 180.) In certain respects, the Pits in the shelters, even if they linger, are better off than the ones left behind.

Since the message about spay/neuter has gotten out to responsible dog owners, most litters or pregnant dogs coming into shelters are Pits because this breed often appeals to the wrong people for the wrong reasons. To the emaciated Pits that enter with cuts or bite wounds, demodectic mange and/or lactating, any TLC or medical care offered at the shelter may be the first time they were ever shown kindness. The shelter becomes their Waldorf-Astoria. Chris Elton, director at Babylon, has an expanding collection of bulky chains and spiked collars removed with pliers. He is decorating his office with this unique window treatment. It serves as a reminder of what these poor dogs have to withstand.

Almost Home (www.almosthomeli.org) visits Wyandanch offering a non-judgmental outreach, food, supplies and free spays/neuters to over 100 pet owners (many harboring chained Pits) who sign up for their Training Wheels™ program. Despite this incredible assistance, there’s still a plethora of unseen Pits throughout other LI areas without compassionate attention.

No one helps them.

•Hoarding and cruelty situations are numerous. Unless the owner reaches out for help, or an outsider notifies the authorities, most times the abuse continues. Only in the movies, does a dog escape and lead police to the scene of the crime. Last year when the Medford woman allegedly tortured and killed dogs in front of her young daughters and then buried them in the yard, her older son tipped off the SPCA. Last month tenants called the Nassau DA animal cruelty line to report their Long Beach landlord who allegedly raped his Shiba Inu.

An exception to human intervention is the prompt for the Suffolk SPCA raid on the secluded West Hills dermatologist’s mansion in September. This time the overpowering ammonia fumes from the trapped dogs’ urine set off the fire alarm causing emergency response teams to notify the SPCA. Agents discovered 115 live plus decomposing dogs inside. How many pets continue to anguish in other hoarders’ and torturers’ hands because the authorities or neighbors are unaware? No one helps them.

• Feral cats are ubiquitous. Only some are fortunate enough to have caregivers monitoring them. On Oct. 24th, Last Hope Animal Rescue held another free TNR (Trap/Neuter/Return) clinic open to the public. This time 90 feral cats were spayed/neutered, vaccinated, as well as treated for fleas and ear mites at a 16 hour marathon surgical session held at the closed Bide-A-Wee in Wantagh. An all volunteer team of eight veterinarians, vet techs, various helpers and the caretakers who trapped the cats and continue to provide follow up care worked together to ensure that these cats would never contribute to the heartbreak of feral overpopulation.

Ninety cats altered in one day is an admirable goal; yet it is only a drop in the kitty bucket. On this particular day, 110 were booked. A percentage always eludes capture. Managed colonies are the solution to this community cat problem, but this strategy is up against all sorts of “trolls”, even callous people who abduct and dump castrated cats to fend for themselves in unfamiliar territory, or secretly add new entrants, overloading established colonies. Worse yet- what about the thousands of invisible LI ferals completely on their own? No one helps them.

• At times, pets are unintentionally neglected, not because of hoarding, but due to the mental, physical, or financial state of the owner. Some of the matted and malnourished pets that rescuers see belonged to elderly people who died or entered nursing homes. Because of frailties or even dementia these folks may no longer be able to care for a pet, let alone themselves. Unemployment and foreclosure have left people of all ages desperate. Pets become innocent victims of hard times. How many more anonymous pets are abandoned or living in dire straits? No one helps them.

For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643- 9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: When “TheThree Billy Goats” Poodles were found in a box several weeks ago, they were frightened and barely recognizable as dogs. These adults, possibly mother and offspring, are becoming quite sociable. The shelter’s vet suspects diabetes or Cushing’s disease in the older female. More tests are pending. Each Billy Goat deserves a loving home safe from “trolls.” Meanwhile petite “Asia” # 93432 is an extroverted brindle Pit mix, a favorite of the staff.

Cats: “Charlotte” #20499- sweet calico, bullied by the other cats in her former home; “Snuggle” #20278- lovable gray declaw.

Male Dogs: Puggle #93561 was found with the young white Pit in Cage 13; tan Chihuahua #93652; “Blue” #93487-mellow Retriever mix; “Davie” #93520- young brown Pit with excellent manners when everyone else is barking. He knows “Sit.”

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