City election is cause for celebration for animal-lovers

Another cause for celebration by Marshall’s animal welfare supporters: the results of this month’s city commissioner elections! I was reminded recently, in a very personal way, of what a difference a low-kill shelter can make to the community.

One evening my husband found a very frightened dog hiding in the carport. When I was finally able to coax her out, it was obvious that she had had pups in the not-too-distant past. I surmised that rather than having her spayed, her people had abandoned her.

It’s hard not to judge harshly people who would treat an animal as her previous owners did, but a couple of things temper what would otherwise be my outright condemnation. The first is that in her particular case, the best outcome is now assured. It’s doubtful that she would have a good life had she remained in her previous home. Her odds would not have been great at the animal shelter, either, as I tried to find a rescue group who would take her and could not.

Also, I can look back into my own family’s past with animals and find cause for remorse. My own grandfather was known to drown unwanted kittens. Even closer to home, we had a beloved boxer that we didn’t spay. The inevitable happened when she was seven or eight years old. She had eight or nine pups but would not care for them and they all died. And she was never the same.

I remember a cat that turned up at our house; one of many over the years. I guess none of us knew what a litter box was, because when she started defecating in the house, my mother drove us to a church parking lot, where we abandoned the poor creature.

These and other thoughtless inflictions of cruelty all happened more than 50 years ago. We did what most people were doing, mostly out of ignorance, and I was only a child. Still, the memory of these events fills me with shame and regret.

It’s harder to claim ignorance as a mitigating factor today, but there is a lot of opportunity for community outreach and education in the Marshall area.

Our recent adoptee is lucky she made her way down our extremely long driveway. Her first vet visit revealed heartworm and hookworm, and we are committed to treatment, followed by spaying. We are lucky, too, because she has turned out to be sweet, loving and eager to please. It warms our hearts as we see her joy and confidence build daily.

I look forward to supporting the new low-kill animal shelter. There will then be no excuse for animal dumping. Now, can we just get it built?

— Linda Harber, Marshall