Anyone with one iota of compassion for animals was sickened by the news last week of 45 dogs and cats being removed from a house of horrors in Sebring. Itís a continual reminder that horrid conditions are as common here as anywhere, and the public rarely has a clue itís happening even when itís one of our neighbors.
The case, where Michelle Brown was arrested for neglect of the animals, required Highlands County Sheriffís Office deputies and county Animal Control to remove the animals from the disgusting house covered in feces, with some animals so crippled they couldnít walk, emaciated, infested with mange and fleas and literally dying from lack of food and water. Some of the animals were euthanized while others were rescued.
The good news is that our area has some of the most dedicated animal lovers found anywhere who made sure the surviving animals are being cared for. Employees at Animal Control and volunteers with the Highlands County Humane Society stepped up and continue to do so. A local veterinarian, Dr. Elton Gissendanner, has really helped by providing a temporary place for these poor animals due to the Humane Society being at full capacity. But more help is needed.
Before these animals can be adopted they must be brought back to health. That requires donations of food and cash to make their care possible. Plenty of people are doing just that but the need is great. Contact the Humane Society to see what kind of assistance is needed.
Meanwhile, keep an eye out for signs of this kind of abuse of animals. Donít sit on the sidelines thinking there might be a problem but unsure and not calling authorities to at least check it out.
Just as important, get all pets spayed and neutered. Having a litter of pups or kittens is not what anyone needs. There are more than enough animals that need rescued in our county and adding to the unwanted pet population isnít cute or helpful in any way.
Itís difficult to imagine that this can happen to sweet, loving pets that depend on us for their well being. Animal hoarding, just like any kind of hoarding, goes beyond just someone being mean. In fact, thatís often not the case. The person responsible frequently thinks he or she is doing the right thing, when it obviously isnít.
Whatever the reasons behind it donít matter at this point. Caring for these animals, and all animals needing loving homes, is the real issue right now. Please step up and help all you can.