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Article published July 20, 2013
Neglect is visible
Shelly Oswald Stoneboro
As an animal lover, I am highly disturbed by the letter “Preying on Farmers” (July 16). Farmers and horse owners who take care of their animals are at no risk from any animal welfare agency. If they neglect their animals to the point where they are walking skeletons infected by poor care; if they hire someone who is not a vet to do illegal surgery on their animal; or let the animal suffer pain without veterinary treatment, I would certainly hope someone steps up to do the right thing. Reputable animal rescue organizations do not sell their animals, they adopt them out with a contract that the animal is to come back to the rescue if the owner no longer wants or can care for it. The adopter is required to provide adequate food, shelter, water and medical care or risk the animal being taken back by the rescue. I am aware of the case the writer discussed, and the rescue has a clear adoption questionnaire and adoption contract. Adoption fees are generally $300 to $500, an amount highly unlikely to pay for a couple months’ worth of feed, shelter, medical attention and care for a horse. Furthermore, there are so many well-fed free animals out there that no rescue group needs to steal animals. Rescue groups and other small nonprofit charities most often have significant funding from their founder and work hard to find grants and donors. We animal lovers applaud their efforts to make the lives of animals more comfortable. We donate because we clearly see they are making a difference. I am sure that I have personally donated to more than 50 animal rescue groups nationwide for just that reason. If people need assistance, they need to stand up and ask for it — it will be given or a home will be found for their animals. There are many instances when the rescue organization in question has stepped up to help people who asked for it. Animal lovers will look with scorn upon a group taking animals in good condition from sanitary facilities. But the animals in question were in pitiful condition and the owners should be ashamed for not stepping up and asking for help. If the hay crop is bad, buy hay. If they have special needs, get special feeds or medications. If they are sick or need to be castrated, call a vet. No excuses.