Buddy & Porky’s Pet Health: Abandoned Pets

Dear Porky & Buddy,

Three times this summer I have witnessed animals that seemed to have just been abandoned on country roads. The first time was a sweet little dog with a limp. I took him home and called the dog control officer and she came right out to collect him. I heard later that he had to have his leg amputated because it was injured and badly infected. In spite of that she found him a home so that was a good thing. The next time it was two kittens that I nearly ran over as it was early in the morning and when I stopped I saw that there was another dead kitten in the road that appeared to have been hit by a car. I took them home too ( and buried the dead one). They were incredibly skinny and covered with fleas. I fed them right away and called the dog control officer again, but she informed me that she really only deals with dogs and couldn’t help me with cats. So I called the Humane Society and they told me to take them to a vet right away and they would take them into foster care. I did that and one of the kittens was so emaciated and so sick with diarrhea and worms and dehydration that she didn’t even survive her one night at the veterinary hospital. Her brother did though and he also found a home after he was brought back to health. Then just last week I was driving on a different road and noticed a car stopped way ahead of me in a wooded area. It sped out really fast before I got very close and sure enough when I got to that section, there was a plastic carrier just lying on its side in the ditch. I stopped again and found a grown cat inside. He seemed healthy and friendly, but how long would he have survived inside a carrier in this heat if I had not come along? Any way I called the Humane Society, but this time their foster homes were completely full and they told me if I would be willing to be a temporary foster they would pay for his veterinary check and his neutering and try to find him a home. So now I have this gorgeous cat whom I am slowly but surely falling in love with, but my question is . . . isn’t this illegal? To just leave animals by the side of the road?


Dear Diane,

You betcha, Section 255 of the New York Agricultural and Markets Law makes it a crime for anyone who owns or possesses an animal to abandon the animal in a street, road or public place. It is punishable by a jail term of up to one year or a fine of $1000 or both. For obvious reasons though, prosecution of this crime is difficult and rare. Dogs and cats don’t make good witnesses about who did this to them, and even if you had been able to get the license plate of the car, how would you prove who was actually in the car at that time? Which is not to say that this crime should not be reported to the police. If nothing else, such reports help humane organizations more accurately demonstrate the severity of the problem when they push for better laws and/or better services.

The bigger problem is that some animal owners don’t take responsibility for the sometimes difficult task of finding a new home for a pet when they can no longer care for ti for any reason. So your individual efforts to help the abandoned animals that you have encountered are truly commendable, but we also need people to help us get the word out that help is out there. The Humane Society cannot take every animal that it hears about into its foster program, but it can take some and it can provide advice and information about other alternatives for people and their pets. We hope you will encourage people to call us.

Another way to help abandoned pets is to go adopt one. You can do that, (and get ready to go back to school), at the “Pets Make You Smarter” Adoption Day on Saturday, August 21st from 11 to 2 at the Tractor Supply Company, Rt 104 East, Oswego. This is a great time of year to adopt a pet. You still have a few weeks of summer to get to know each other and then a nice snuggly companion for the other nine cold months of the year!

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Our office is located at 265
West First Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org.