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When neighborhood critters are on their own

If you care about animals, the chances are good you’ve found yourself in this situation. You see a neighborhood dog who lives its life on the end of a chain in the yard – all day, every day. Food and water are scarce. There may be a minimal shelter…or none at all.

Or perhaps you are being visited by a neighbor’s kitty who is skin and bones, or has an infected wound or clearly looks ill. The neighbor isn’t friendly, so you decide to feed the cat…if you can. The cat begins to show up regularly, and then suddenly stops coming. You keep looking out the window, hoping to see it waiting on your deck. Is it hurt? Is it ok?

It’s so hard to keep our emotions in check when something like this happens. I have lost my temper many times when confronted with a situation where an animal is being abused or neglected.
Depending upon where you live, the chained dog situation may be illegal. A fabulous group called Dogs Deserve Better is working hard to educate people and change laws so that one day all dogs will be off chains and inside with their families, where they belong.

Even if it’s legal to keep the dog on a chain people are required to provide food, clean water and adequate shelter for their outside animals.

As for the hungry cat, it’s always best if you can talk with the family. I have a dear friend in another state who has been feeding two neighborhood cats. The cats live near her home, and it’s clear their family wants nothing to do with them. However, they don’t seem to want anyone to interfere, either. First one cat disappeared, then the other. My friend is heartbroken, not knowing what has happened to them.

I’ve been feeding my little black feral cat, Sammy, for almost 6 years. I know he doesn’t have a home. What he DOES have is a very strong constitution – my neighbor said her vet calls it “hybrid vigor.”
When a small, skinny orange cat began visiting I went into feeding mode. This little guy was very friendly, and I felt sure he had a home. It took awhile but I finally found his family, and because I knew these people I stopped by to talk with them.

The cat’s name is Creamsicle – how cute! Unlike so many situations, these people really care about their kitty. He had just been to the vet and was thoroughly checked out. Now he has two households watching over him!

If a neighborhood critter needs your help I hope you can talk with the family and see where they stand on the matter. Hopefully, they will want to do what it takes to care for their furball. If not, do what you can within the law, and consult with the authorities if outside intervention is needed.

There will probably be a few sleepless nights in your future – and a lot of trips to the window – but at least you’ll know you did all you could to help another living creature in need.
Hugs to all you earth angels,


posted on May 13, 2009 Reply

I wish a homeless kitty would come to my house as I miss a kitty in my life but with Ebony at this time she is not 100% trustworthy and it would kill me if anything happened to a kitty in need. I have a situation across the street from me. There is a family with 3 dogs. Their little beagle (not fixed) is an escape artist and I have walked him back home twice now. Monday he showed up again on our road and was romping with a fence separation with Barney.
I went out to talk to him and discovered he had a very bad eye infection. I thought it might be pink eye and when I got him home was told in no uncertain terms it was cherry eye. What’s the difference. It looks terrible and could be very painful. This is a strange situation and I am concerned.

posted on May 14, 2009 Reply

So the people know their dog has cherry eye and don’t plan to get it fixed? I had a doggie who had that surgery done – it sure made a big difference to her. Are you able to talk with them about this?

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