To The Editor: These sad cases of abuse do not have to happen. Franklin County Humane Society (FCHS) accepts all homeless dogs and cats brought in by area residents, regardless of their condition and regardless of a person’s ability to make a donation. These cases are illustrative of why FCHS maintains an open admission policy, as opposed to being a limited-access shelter and turning some strays away.

FCHS also schedules the intake of owned animals because often, the owned, but unwanted, become the stray and homeless. In part, FCHS maintains this policy in hopes of providing a safe alternative to cruelty. For the sake of the animals, no barriers should exist in bringing in an animal, such as turning them away because we’re full, or fees. We do ask for a donation to help with their care, but it is not mandatory for this very reason.

Witnessing and dealing with the results of animal cruelty is painful for all involved. Animals suffer in silence, and it is well established that animal abuse often escalates to domestic violence. We hope the public will share its moral outrage against animal cruelty by being vigilant about intervening in animal neglect or abuse. According to the Missouri attorney general, enforcing animal abuse laws is the responsibility of local police or county officers. Call the local police or sheriff to report animal neglect or abuse. Give them an address, description of persons, and/or a vehicle and license plate number.

Persons may also report abuse or neglect by phone to the Animal Cruelty Task Force at the Humane Society of Missouri (unrelated to FCHS) at 314-647-4400, or report neglect, dogfighting or suspected unlicensed puppy mills to “Operation Bark Alert” of the Missouri Department of Agriculture at 573-751-4211, or online at Speak up, because animals cannot. Ask your government representatives to improve accountability for enforcing the animal neglect and abuse laws in place.

Yes, animal cruelty does indeed exist even in our pleasant community. We understand that not all persons share a passion for animals. Yet we all should share a commitment to humane care and treatment of not only people, but of innocent animals as well.

Citizens of this community are very generous when made aware of a need for support. FCHS is not supported by taxes or by our county government. Thanks to our Cinderella Fund donors, the kitten with the damaged leg underwent surgery April 24, and is recuperating in foster care. While not all animals can be helped, donations to our Cinderella Fund help us obtain costly, specialized medical care, and general fund donations help us keep our doors open to receive animals such as these, day in and day out.

Editor’s Note: Continued from the Wednesday Missourian.