Dear Porky & Buddy,
Three times this year 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 ending.
The next time it was two kittens that I nearly ran over as it was early in the morning and the sun was not quite up.
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 Oswego County 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 and anemia from flea bites 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 weather 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?
What can people do about it?
You betcha. Section 255 of the New York Agriculture and Markets Law makes it a crime to abandon animals.
Here is what it says: “A person being the owner or possessor, or having charge or custody of an animal, who abandons such animal, or leaves it to die in a street, road or public place, or who allows such animal, if it becomes disabled, to lie in a public street, road or public place more than three hours after he receives notice that it is left disabled, is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year, or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both.”
For obvious reasons, 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?
We would have suggested calling 911 and reporting as much as you were able to observe about the car, just so there would be a record.
It probably would not have helped much this time, but what if this person does this again?
In the meantime, what you are doing about it is a good thing – stopping to help animals in obvious distress.
You know to call the local dog control office when you find a dog, and the Oswego County Humane Society when you find a cat. (Remember that some municipalities have Animal Control Officers who deal with both dogs and cats.)
And you were willing to help out by fostering the last cat when the Humane Society was full.
That kind of active intervention and involvement makes all of our jobs easier.
In the long run, (and wait a minute while we get up on the soap box,) abandonment of animals is despicable and cruel, but it will not stop until two things happen.
People (kids really) need to be taught to have empathy toward all living things.
People who love animals don’t abandon them.
And communities need better services in place that people can turn to instead of abandoning their animals.
The Oswego County Humane Society is working on that with its foster program and spay/neuter clinic, but it’s a big job.
So whatever you, or any other member of the community, can do to help is important.
Speaking of which, one thing you can do is Adopt a Pet at the Home 4 the Holidays Adoption Celebration on November 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oswego YMCA/Armory, 265 W. First St. in Oswego.
There will be lots of pets for adoption, animal welfare groups to meet, animal demonstrations, a giant pre-Thanksgiving bake sale, a fabulous book sale, free and fun activities for kids.
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 W. First St., Oswego, NY.
Phone (315) 207-1070.
Because People & Pets Are Good for Each Other.