To the Editor:
Thank you for printing the story about the animal refuge Kris and Ron Nelson operate near Bricelyn. They are providing a much needed and valuable service. Animal abuse and neglect is one of the frequently hidden dark sides of our society. Thankfully there are people like the Nelsons who are working to provide safe havens for animals in need.
Small animal shelters and humane societies across the country are also working hard to provide homes for neglected, abused and unwanted pets.
The Wildcat Sanctuary (www.wildcatsanctuary.org) operated by Tammy Quist provides loving care and a safe home for big cats that have often been horribly abused by humans who thought such animals would make interesting pets. Imagine a cougar being raised in a back yard or in a small corn crib. Imagine a beautiful African wild cat only walking in circles because it has spent its entire life tethered to a post.
The Wild Horse Sanctuary (www.wildmustangs.com) operated by Dayton Hyde has saved hundreds of wild horses from slaughter. Many people do not know that wild horses are often rounded up and sold to Japan for slaughter. The stallions are first castrated then shipped off in crowded cargo containers to Japan. Think of the pain and terror these animals endure.
There are many such sanctuaries and refuges across the country. Each and every one of us must take responsibility and do what we can do to support those who have devoted their lives to saving animals and providing safe shelters. We cannot all adopt a rescue animal, but we can all provide support. How hard is it to include a bag of dog or cat food with your next shopping trip? Drop it off at the local small animal shelter. How hard would it be for farmers in Faribault County to give a bale of hay or bedding straw to the Nelson’s refuge? For the local grocery stores to donate a few bags of carrots? Do you really need all the holiday, birthday, Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day gifts? Why not instead ask your children and grandchildren to donate to an animal sanctuary? When you write out the monthly bills write a small check to an animal refuge or slip a book of stamps in an envelope to them. Or better yet contact them and ask for a copy of their wish list. Check it out – they may need something that you can easily provide.
But most of all everyone needs to take an active role in stopping the abuse and neglect of animals. Stop looking the other way and get involved. Children should be taught to respect animals, adults should not be allowed to abuse and neglect animals. It is not okay to beat, kick, starve or neglect any animal. It is everyone’s responsibility to speak up and stop any and all kinds of abuse. Remember the individual who kicks the dog when he/she comes in the door is just warming up.
Doris Taylor Olson