Dog and cat

I am not sure why it is necessary to remind people of the need to respect the rights of animals in their care, but it was evident once again during a recent evening. A concerned neighbor called to report witnessing a dog with a history of being denied protection, tied up outside with no shelter and no way to escape an hours long heavy downpour and cold temperatures.

With winter not far away, it is especially important to appeal to those entrusted with the care of an animal to put yourselves in their "paws" and show a generous amount of compassion and heart.

Minnesota Statute 343.21 of the Animal Welfare Act, which governs the mistreatment of animals, clearly states that depriving an animal of proper shelter, food and water is illegal, never mind immoral and unethical. Minnesota Statute 346.37 also includes cruel training or handling methods.

The first call you should make if you witness animal neglect, mistreatment or abuse is to your local police department. However, since the police are often too busy to respond to all calls regarding animals, those who witness callous disregard for animal welfare should know that the mission of the Minnesota Federated Humane Societies is to intervene in such cases and assist local authorities. They can be called at 612-866-8663, or email reportanimalcruelty@mnfedhs.org. You can report anonymously. Your local animal shelter may also be helpful in providing options.

It takes courage to identify people who care little about placing in unsafe conditions those who are at the mercy of the humans in their lives, but it is the right and responsible thing to do. There are penalties and restrictions for those who would cause harm to a defenseless animal, and they should be held accountable.

Jane Gislason,

Hutchinson