“There is no excuse for animal abuse.” – Unknown    

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 “There is no excuse for animal abuse.” – Unknown    

PAWS TO PONDER by Suzyn Barron, President of Warwick Valley Humane Society, Inc.


Did you know, one of the staff happened to come to the shelter at six o’clock one morning only to find an older black labrador tied to our front post with a cat in a carrier by its side.  Using our investigative skills, we found the owner who left the pets at three in the morning.  We were told they didn’t have the money to feed them for three days and couldn’t care for them anymore.  The cat was 15 years old and the dog about 8 years old. 

Hard times sometimes do call for desperate measures, but animal abandonment is never the answer!   “Getting rid of a pet” without physically turning the pet over to another person is animal abandonment, a misdemeanor crime in New York State carrying a sentence of up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to a thousand dollars or both.  One could argue that at least the animals were left at the door of the shelter.  Somewhat true, but they were defenseless against other wild animals being tied and confined, left scared and waiting for the owner to return for over 3 hours before someone came.  Properly surrendering them at 9am rather than abandoning them at 3am would have been legal and less traumatic for the pets.  And far less dangerous for staff who had to intake these pets without any knowledge of their personalities or if there were any medical issues. Now at least we know their names, ages, and basic history.  This incident could have been avoided with a phone call asking for help rather than abandoning them in the dead of night,  a crime committed in the cover of darkness, or so they thought.

Upon leaving the dog park, one of our volunteers saw a small, furry white animal looking for help.  Not recognizing what it was, he was hesitant to pick it up, so he called the shelter and sent a photo. 

It looked to be a ferret, out in the open, on its own, which is never a good thing.  Two staff were dispatched to the park to meet this volunteer.   By the time they arrived there were two ferrets under the van.  The white one came running to be rescued while the brown one was found relaxing on the wheel of the vehicle.  Both are very friendly ferrets who found themselves abandoned in the park.  Somehow, they managed to stay safe away from hawks and other predators.   Thankfully, it was a quiet day at the park which otherwise would have meant dodging countless cars, dogs, and people. Both were at the vet the same day as their rescue, receiving necessary vaccinations and exams. Fortunately, not only did they survive, but are in good health and guessed to be about two years old.  Captive ferrets, known as pets, have a lifespan of four to six years.   Their owner obviously couldn’t or wouldn’t commit to that. And, instead, chose to commit a crime of animal cruelty.   “There is no excuse for animal abuse.” – Unknown    

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