No excuses for recent animal cruelty cases

It’s safe to say that, like politics, most people have a definite and strong opinion about cats, with little neutral territory.

While cats may outnumber dogs as pets, some still don’t find felines to their taste. So be it. Nothing wrong with being a dog person, or whichever pet you might prefer, if any at all.

But it’s a big — and alarming — step to go from not being a fan of cats to what’s been seen recently in Dickinson County.

A story in Thursday’s Daily News detailed what Deputy Kari Laurent, animal control for the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department, has dealt with in the past few months — and it’s been unsettling.

Cats found drowned along with other “nuisance” animals. Cats shot and left to limp or crawl away, in one case injured beyond treatment, so the only option was euthanasia. Tiny kittens abandoned in a box in a rural parking on a sweltering day, to meet whatever fate might come — two managed to survive long enough to be found, two didn’t.

Sure, neighbors letting their cats wander outside unchecked — to snag birds at your backyard feeder, leave beheaded baby bunnies on your doorsteps or use your garden as a litterbox — can be understandably frustrating.

Hunters, too, resent the game species these small but skilled predators can manage to pick off, such as grouse chicks, though some studies have disputed the overall toll.

But it’s not license for open season on free-roaming cats. The cat is not the party at fault here — it’s acting as it’s designed to be — but the owner. Such lethal actions against the animal, too, might be illegal.

And their are other options. Animal control is willing to provide traps on request and then take the offending feline to Almost Home Animal Shelter in Quinnesec. There is no charge to bring stray animals to the shelter, said Diane Luczak of Almost Home Animal Shelter, and no charge to retrieve any cat brought there.

The bottom line is: Abandoning or killing the animal should never be an option.

“I don’t understand the psyche, the mind of a person that does this … Bring them to the shelter,” Luczak said.

Keep in mind, too, that cruelty to animals can be a signal of someone who may move on to abusing humans.

In other words, if someone can decide to leave kittens to likely die in a box, what other kind of behavior might he or she be able to rationalize in the future?