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Animal Stewardship and Humane Treatment

Updated on February 2, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has spent 30 years working in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, and aerospace education for Active USAF Civil Air Patrol.


A Question of Animal Rights

Our Hubber BeiYin asked the question, " You 'had to sell' your best friend? How is this possible?" He included thoughts about horses and pet dumping in garbage dumpsters.

This brought a lot of thoughts and memories to mind and I'd like to share a few experiences.


Sled dogs training for the Iditarod. Many people oppose running dogs in sled races and even working animals on farms.
Sled dogs training for the Iditarod. Many people oppose running dogs in sled races and even working animals on farms. | Source

Responsibility For Another Life

Whether the decision at hand is one about producing or adopting a child or about taking on a pet, it is an important one. Unexpected financial crises or disasters can occur to wreck our plans for caring adequately for another life entrusted to us, but I think we should do our best to amke plans to do so, anyway. However, I think we should do so after carefully considering the possible results of parenting and training a child or an animal, and whether we can handle this 24/7 mandate long-term.

Know Yourself

Although the psychiatric condition known as plubukto was removed from the American Psychiatric Association's DSM series of diagnostic manuals, it still occurs. Originally, it was a condition brought on by extreme, long-term cramped living conditions that resulted from living in igloos in the isolated Subpolar North, while constantly wrapped in furs, having large dogs for blankets, and being snowed in by blizzards.

The manifestation occurred when the stricken individual went outside, removed all clothing in temperatures of, say, -50 to -75 degrees F, and ran screaming away to become lost and fatally frozen. "Cabin fever" is a very mild form of this phenomenon. Some people suffer from it when overwhelmed by the 24/7 nature of having a child or a pet that requires attention.


A 24/7 Responsibility

Does the prospect of caring for an infant without sleeping more than 2 hours at a time for several months or of constantly walking dogs or letting them in and out of the house bother you? Then you may not want to attempt to have or raise either.

Perhaps you do not realize that you may have this reaction until after the new family member is on the scene -- In that case, counseling and support groups are available in many instances for both new parents and new pet owners. Some cities have organized respite care for children and senior citizens or those with Alzheimer symptoms, on weekends for when parents and families reach their tolerance levels and may become abusive if they do not secure some freedom from the 24/7 grind. I don't know if there are respite care facilities for pets, but boarding kennels may bring relief for a couple of days.

People abandon children of all ages at the State Fairs every year and these kids are placed into foster care or adoptive homes if at all possible - if the original family cannot be tracked down. Some families cannot afford their children's basic needs and some want the freedom from the responsibility. Some people become frightened, panic, and dump their children at a fair or a mall and leave town. The same series of scenarios can happen with pets as well.

In many cities, newborn infants can be left at local hospitals by parents who cannot, or feel that they cannot, care for these young lives - with no penalty to the parents. This is an improvement over former laws, one that helps individuals and couples that believed they could care for a child and simply cannot do so, as well as those that always knew that could not. Yet, babies are still found in high school toilets and pets keep turning up in dumpsters.

Snowball the Rescue Bird Dances to Michael Jackson

Columbus Ohio Zoo Show - 150 Rescued Animals

Animals as Friends

One wonders how another person can sell a horse if that horse is the person's best friend. Horses present a large expense long-term, require daily attention, and need continuing training and exercise. Not everyone can maintain all of this expense and effort, including emotional effort. For some of these individuals, it is better to sell the horse to a friend or a nearby stable/horse farm in order to assure that the horse will receive proper care.

It helps if the person can go and visit the horse - like former owners of potbelly pigs visit at the pig sanctuary farms on weekends. Thailand has an elephant rescue sanctuary, but some countries have no animal rescue programs.

For that matter, in some countries where the masses are starving, people would eat the horse for survival. In America, selling or shooting a horse or dumping a pet out of boredom is just as bad. For example: Recently, a law enforcement officer in Central Ohio was preparing to go on vacation with his family. He did not want to pay to board his two large dogs, so he shot them both in the head. it was ghastly, a crime, and he was suspended from the force for his actions.

Baby chicks used to be dyed various colors and sold at Woolworth's and Kresge's for 50 cents each at Easter.
Baby chicks used to be dyed various colors and sold at Woolworth's and Kresge's for 50 cents each at Easter. | Source

Here's another ghastly example: When I was a child, some stores still sold (illegally) pet baby Easter chicks, sometimes dyed odd colors. It was illegal to own livestock within the city limits and the birds were usually dead the week after Easter, because they were not fed at home - people forgot or did not think of it - they were toys. This was very cruel. Our two chicks one year lived, but disappeared. They were fed to me and other children that autumn at a picnic at an distant relative's place outside the city.

After we ate, we were told where the chicken came from, while the relative laughed. After a couple of other incidents, I learned that he was someone to avoid. Having no children, he adopted an infant boy and under his care, the child in high school entered the world of drug trafficking and later fatally wrapped a car around a tree or light pole. On the way to this ending, the young man had been charged with child abuse himself.

Some people are not able to raise healthy children or pets and may never become prepared.. Still, if an owner cannot afford to continue caring for a horse or other pet, selling the animal or giving it up for adoption is much better than neglecting it and having it die of starvation and illness. Moreover, this is often a crime that can lead to fines and even jail time for the owner. For those that consider animals friends and family members, this is unfathomable.


Perhaps some individuals should not be permitted to have children or pets, but this is difficult or impossible to control. Human adoption can be controlled, but human reproduction, less so. Animal spaying and neutering are useful in controlling the population of feral dogs and cats in America. Regardless, pets and children are still dumped each year. One hopes that children are never sold, but the news media run across a case of this occasionally.

I think that in economic downturns especially, some people can no longer care for their pets, but they might be able to take them to shelters or rescue farms. Some homeless shelters are beginning to accept pets with their owners on a limited basis as well. Exotic pets might be accepted by a local zoo. However, when shelters are full, where so these pets go? I heard a woman say that she would do anything possible to keep her two cats with her, no matter what her financial status or life circumstances. Not all people can have this conviction.

Cats are often turned loose on farms, but many cats and dogs are dumped out of cars on the highways and roads of America every year. Some pets are thrown into dumpsters alive or shot in the head like the dogs mentioned above. Sometimes college students abandon pets they kept during the school year and these cats and dogs are found in empty apartments.

Some people cannot take care of pets and others will not care for them, even after having purchased or received them as gifts. In cases of malicious dumping, the best we can do is to report it to animal control and law enforcement as soon as we witness it and teach children to grow up with responsibility in mind when it comes to pets and children. We can also become involved with local pet shelters, educate the public, help to prevent animal neglect and cruelty, and recommend the spay/neuter programs available for animals.


© 2009 Patty Inglish MS

Comments and Opinions

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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Everyobody! - Thanks for all the comments about taking good care of animal companions - and children. The Christmas show sponsor adds of abused animals are just impossible to watch, as the shows sometimes on Animal Cops.

      Ben - How glad it was to get your kitten back and to have him 14 years. I had one for 13 years, until the increasing number of animals in the house trampled him one night and he was too injured to recover; the euthaniasia was very quick and he was jappy and purring before he left. A roommate had thought she could get her boyfriend back if she just got the right pet(s). He never came back, either.

      A recent housemate moved herself and cat, who was also my friend for 2.5 years, about 1200 miles away to a warmer place. At least he won't be cold anymore -- I will always remember that he consistently smelled like a biscuit made with sugar - you know, like a Bisquick strawberry shortcake. I don't know where he got that, but it was my favorite smell from childhood.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Patty, what a truly beautiful and inspiring hub - great writing and awesome pictures - thank you, kimberly

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 

      11 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Thanks for illuminating people on the reality of pet care and why people sometimes need to adopt them out. I understand the reaction of the questioner, but as you pointed out, it's a much better alternative.

      Once in college, we adopted a gorgeous little black kitten. While we were playing poker, my friend rocked backa and fourth on his chair and unwittingly came down on the kitten's leg! He rushed "Marley" to the vet and they casted his little leg. A week later we had a party and a bleeding heart girl stole him from the house because they thought we were abusing him. I had to run down the street and force her to give us our cat back. He lived to be 14 just passing on last year.

      Sometime well intentioned people need to dig deeper I guess. Thanks for this important article Patty!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      11 years ago from United States

      Here in Florida where so many people are out of work, hope, and selling personal belongings out of desperation -- the oddest thing to me is that the business of selling pets, particularly dogs -- is a booming business. Even shelters are adopting them out at high dollar. People are spending money they don't have on pets and accessories for their pets, like strollers. These same people can't afford to buy necessities. Others when they walk away from their mortgages and vanish in the night, leave the poor pets they can no longer afford to feed behind. Sad sad state of affairs.

    • dusanotes profile image


      11 years ago from Windermere, FL

      I was saddened to hear about the children that are abandoned each year at the state fair or shopping malls. It tears my heart out, but I guess because of circumstances - give them the benefit of the doubt - people can't properly care for children. Why did they marry in the first place? We all know the answer to that one - the allure of marriage from afar and the desire to have someone of the opposite sex around.

      Thanks for your fine Hub.

      Don White

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      11 years ago from West By God

      Yes, as one advocate for pets and cats in particular I know how cruel people can be. I was appalled at the story aobut the guy shooting his dogs. There was a guy that lived down the street from us and instead of taking the dog to the vets to get it's mange and other skin problems treated he just left her out in the woods and didn't feed her. The sadder thing was that he also had another dog and fed it and cared for it at the same time. One of my cats was litterally thrown out of the car door when she was only 6 weeks old. I saw it with my own eyes and could not beleive it. She still lives with us now and we named her sunshine becaseu it was in August and a very hot and sunny day that she happened upon here. The shelters are all so full of cats and they are turning the good people who really want to find homes for these animals away. I am an advocate for SPAY TODAY too. Patty, it would be good to link up to my hub with this.I will link this one up with mine as well.

    • maven101 profile image

      Larry Conners 

      11 years ago from Northern Arizona

      I totally agree with the moral obligation of humans to exert their responsibility of animal stewardship...In this changing world of diminished values, moral turpitude, and personal selfishness, the wonderful creatures we share this life with as owner and pet suffer the self-absorbed vagaries of some humans that lack maturity and responsibility...I stay away from animal shelters because of the pain it causes me to see these unfortunate creatures caged and begging for a touch, a petting, a craving for affection...I want to take every cat home ( I have three from the pound ) and their little faces stay with me for days...How in the world can anyone deny a creature willing to give unconditional love..?

      This was a hard Hub for me to read, Patty, but I thank you for it. It needs to be said, and you have said it very well indeed...Larry

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      11 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I hope many rescue pets get a really good forever-home for Christmas and other winter holidays! Thanks Hello, hello!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      11 years ago from London, UK

      It is so sad because humans domesticated them and now they treat them like this. Thank you for your hub pointing out all these cruelties.


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