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Authorities, market should fight animal cruelty

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Editorial: March 24, 2012

ISSUE: Suspected puppy mill in Vine Grove
OUR VIEW: Dogs' conditions unacceptable

When authorities investigated a call about about possible animal cruelty last week at a mobile home in Vine Grove, they found more than 100 dogs living in cramped quarters and unsanitary conditions.

A husband and wife, who police suspect were selling the dogs, each face 103 counts of second-degree animal cruelty.

Authorities and volunteers have reported the animals were without water in a room where the temperature was about 80 degrees, some dogs had feces matted in their fur and two dead puppies were found.

Whether these animals were pets or inventory, such conditions are shameful and simply unacceptable.

There are consequences for second-degree animal cruelty. The misdemeanor charge is punishable by up to one year in jail.

Thankfully, someone called animal control, initiating the raid.

Thankfully, Hardin County Animal Control and other officials were able to remove the animals and had resources to provide food and medical attention.

Thankfully, volunteers were on hand to help rescue the animals and continue to care for the nursing mothers and puppies too young to be held by animal control. The volunteer response — assisting authorities within an hour — and the Hardin County community’s compassion for animals is admirable.

There likely are many others in the community interested in helping. Those involved in the case, for which the dogs are being held as evidence and cannot be adopted, said donations are best.

Animal Control plans to post a list of items to be used at the shelter on Nicholas Street in Elizabethtown on Hardin County government’s website, www. hcky.org. Donations also may be made to PAWS Inc. at www. pawsdonations.org or to Pet Protection at Buried Treasure at 326 W. Dixie Ave. in Elizabethtown.

Still, there is more to do beyond meeting the immediate needs of these animals.

We challenge all to do their part to help stop puppy mills.

Commercial breeders exist because the market allows it. Those considering a new dog should take steps to make sure their puppy isn’t the offspring a mistreated breeder dog.

The Humane Society of the United States suggests considering adopting a dog rather than buying one, taking profit out of the equation.

If you do buy a puppy, the society recommends finding a responsible breeder and viewing with your own eyes the facilities where the puppy and its parents are cared for.

Ask questions. Go ahead and question a seller’s honesty, too. An honest person won’t mind the questions and should be happy to provide documentation.

Suppose a man with five puppies in a cardboard box at a roadside stand tells you the litter belongs to his beloved longtime pet. Ask to meet his beloved pet at his home. Only then would you know those puppies are not five of dozens. Only then would you know the pups’ mother hasn’t been caged and pregnant her entire adult life.

This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.