Sara Graves letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 24, 2007

Letter to the editor
‘Plight of abandoned animals in Panola abhorrent’

The following is not associated with any organization or government entity.  I seek to present the truth in an attempt to change the truth.

The current plight of abandoned animals in Panola County is abhorrent.  The notions that “pound life,” which is conveniently hidden from public view, and/or euthanasia are loving gifts to those housed there borders on the obscene. The hideous reality is that when a dog is brought to the pound, he is placed in a parasite-infested, steel-and-cement cesspool. This is not a gift; it is a sentence — a 60-day sentence to be exact.  Those animals not adopted during the “grace” period are euthanized — regardless of age or health.  While they wait, the dogs feel pain and fear and are sensible of the misery.

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When God gave us superiority over animals, He charged us with a duty to preserve, not destroy.  How is it, then, that, having been created by such a loving God, most of us can turn our heads — and, more importantly, our hearts — away so quickly, make our excuses, and walk as fast as we can in the opposite direction?

Perhaps we animal activists are to blame for the apathy and absent support.  Unwittingly, we have perpetuated the perception that “somebody else will take care of it.”  Is it hard to volunteer?  Yes.  Are the conditions gut-wrenching?  Yes.  Is it heart-breaking?  Yes — but Benjie McCain (Batesville’s animal control officer) cannot do it all by himself.  Until we as a community understand and accept our responsibility, the situation will continue to worsen.

What is our responsibility?  First, to spay/neuter, properly vaccinate, and responsibly breed our own pets.  Second, to help establish the best possible situation at the Shelter through our gifts, service, and support.  And, finally, to work toward a new and larger vision that includes facilities, care, education, and intelligent policy.

If we — city and county governments, community organizations, churches, individuals — are willing to do our part, we can make a difference.

/s/Sara Graves