PAWS: Let's educate pet owners

Spring and summer have come and about gone, and fall is almost here. Ticks and fleas are here year-round. There are more and more new preventives to take care of them, so make sure you pick some up at your veterinarian's office. They can help you determine which one to get for your pet. 

For the pets that do have to live outside, be sure and check them over regularly and keep them well groomed. The old dog house may need repairing or replaced. Try to make it comfortable like you were going to use it yourself. If everyone would put themselves in their pet's place, I bet the living conditions would be much better. 

Outside cats need the same attention that the dogs do. Also, don't forget about the heartworm checks and medication. Dogs with heartworms will die if not caught soon enough. Don't let this happen to your pet. The best thing to do is take your pet in every year to your vet for shots and a checkup. We hope your pets are all spay/neutered. This will keep them home during this time of year, which is mating time for most of them. This town is overloaded with cats and kittens because people get them and put them outside, unfixed, and all the tomcats make sure they have babies. Then, these people move off and leave the cats and on and on we go. Sometimes I get enough calls that we could take in 50 cats or more a week. There are just not enough homes for them. This is why Muskogee needs a city ordinance that includes dogs and cats be spay/neutered, because cats have more pregnancies a year than dogs, so cats need to be included.

Because everyone doesn't take good care of their pets, help educate them and offer them a helping hand. It would fulfill a dream of mine to not see any more dogs chained and living in a dirty hole they've worn in the ground, sometimes full of water or snow, and their feces never cleaned up, and all tangled up and unable to get to their water bowl if they have one. 

Each day is the same. Can you imagine having to live like this day in and day out your whole life? And they wonder why dogs on chains bite. I would bite, too. Nothing should have to live in these conditions, and it saddens me to think anyone would ever let their animal live this way. 

I have people call and say, 'You won't believe these people's dog has no shelter and snow is piling up on its back and it has to sleep on the cold, wet ground."

Once, I stopped at this house. It wasn't in a good neighborhood, and I saw this little dog, about 10 or 12 pounds. He was chained to this tree stump with a logging chain. He could hardly stand up, it was so heavy. It was about 10 degrees and sleeting. It was all crusted on his little back. 

Well, this place was scary, but I couldn't just leave him. I had 20 bucks in my pocket, so I went to their door and knocked. This drunk man came to the door and a baby ran out on the porch with a diaper and T-shirt and no shoes. The house smelled like old whiskey. So, I said, "I love your little dog, would you take $20. That's all I have for him." He snatched the money and called the little dog worthless, said he ate too much, so get him out of here.

He couldn't have eaten much. He was skin and bones and the sweetest dog. He got a good home and never had to live on a chain again. He had a bed in the house. 

There is so much of this around here and so much neglect and abandonment. People get pets and then move and leave their pets behind. I know of cases where they've been left chained in a fenced backyard and no one knew they were there, and they starved to death. Cats that are left, of course, are not spayed or neutered, and the little girls have babies and the boys get in fights and have some really bad fight injuries. This is how feral cats come into being. 

If you have a little extra money or want to feel good about yourself, help someone get their pet spayed/neutered who doesn't have the money to do it themselves.

As I always say, PLEASE spay and neuter your cats and dogs and be a responsible pet owner or don't get one. And pleas, you people with dogs on chains, take them off if possible. If not, take them for a walk and let them come in with the family a while every day. Love them and socialize them by making them part of your family. Otherwise, why did you get a dog for a chain? Very sad.

Dorothy Farmer is the executive director of PAWS, Promoting Animal Welfare Society Inc.

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