OPINION —I was disheartened to read the story about Oscar, the foxhound, who was abandoned at Grandpa’s Pond in Hurricane with a note duct-taped to his fur. It is illegal to abandon an animal in the state of Utah, and I wanted to clarify appropriate options.
As the advocacy director for the Humane Society of Utah, I take calls from concerned citizens all over our state. Their concerns range from everyday neglect (e.g., a dog left in freezing temperatures overnight without shelter) to more insidious cruelty that I cannot repeat here. Often, callers ask me what I can do to help an animal in their community.
In the case of Oscar, what he needed was a family with the necessary resources to keep him or to responsibly rehome him. At the Humane Society of Utah, we use a Coordinated Entry System to ensure that people with pets who are experiencing a resource or housing crisis are quickly identified, assessed, referred and connected to available resources. Usually, the support needed is advice on how to properly rehome a pet. If a pet owner feels that they cannot provide the necessary care for their pet, we are happy to discuss their options in an honest and compassionate discussion.
A note to the person who abandoned Oscar: Abandonment of an animal is a crime, and it is a crime for a reason. Next time, instead of leaving your frightened, unvaccinated pet tied to a fence where he could fall victim to cruelty or cause a public health crisis, give us a call or call one of the other dozens of shelters and rescues in the state. We are here to help.
Submitted by RACHEL HEATLEY, Advocacy Director, Humane Society of Utah.
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