Residents of Brown County have responded generously to the campaign to build a new, modern shelter for the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, and that facility promises to usher in a new era for the care and nurture of dogs and cats. Animal cruelty is not a topic that is pleasant to deal with, but the staff and volunteers who keep centers like this operating are at the front line of the fight for the humane treatment of these animal.
The term animal cruelty covers an assortment of misdeeds, including acts of malicious intent where a person intentionally causes harm to an animal. Those are the incidents most likely to raise alarm and a swift response from law enforcement authorities.
But animal cruelty also includes acts of omission. These situations prompt intervention in the most extreme cases, but too often the less severe cases of neglect are ignored or overlooked. And that is a shame.
Actually, itís a crime.
Even minor neglect can cause incredible pain and suffering to animals. Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animalís skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention. Sometimes these situations are the result of ignorance of an owner; sometimes itís the lack of finances to do the right thing.
Either way, an animalís welfare is paramount. Reporting suspected cases of cruelty is the first step toward eliminating it.