Running at large

To the Editor:

There is a law against letting domestic animals run at large. In a nut shell it means if the animal belongs to you, you are responsible. And then, what does responsible mean? You provide food, water and shelter.  That’s the least you can do but that doesn’t go far enough.    We must not and cannot expect others to watch out for our pets.

Last week, on my way to town, there was a large German Shepherd dead along the road with no collar and no tags. Someone had been taking care of him,  but who?  Did they miss him or even look? I don’t know.     Mishaps happen and pets do get away from us despite our best efforts. All too many times, however,  pets are allowed to run free – totally free.  Free to wander the countryside or neighborhood and free to get hit by a vehicle, get lost and caught in traps.

Fox 9 news reported a segment on Sunday Nov. 25  about a black lab dog that had her muzzle caught in a wire snare.  Snares are legal but cruel.  They cause animals to suffer, and this dog was one of the lucky ones.    That is if you want to say having a wire around your muzzle, breaking your teeth off trying to get free, not being able to eat or drink, lucky.

Perhaps she was lucky in the sense that caring people didn’t give up until they were able to bring this dog to a veterinarian for care and treatment. How many animals are so fortunate? My guess, not many.   Will the owner come forward? I would be surprised if they do. If they do come forward, are they willing to pay the veterinarian costs, or is that a good reason not to come forward?

We must hold our governor and legislators responsible and accountable for continuing to allow this practice.  They have the power and ability to change the law and ban snares and leg hold traps.

As angry as I am and sickened by this practice, the ultimate responsibility falls to the owners. We cannot pass our responsibility off onto others; in particular, those who do not care about animal suffering. Don’t be fooled, as I was, when our governor made a big deal about the puppies he adopted.  I’m sure he cares about his dogs.

But, when it comes to compassion for animal suffering, we are talking about a governor who wouldn’t even – for publicity sake – pardon a turkey for more than one day.

Even though the election is over, let your elected officials know what you expect. Insist on a change.

Be responsible.   Have your pets spayed or neutered.


Shirley Taggart 
Faribault, MN