Animal neglect rare locally, but sadly still it happens

Animal neglect rare locally, but sadly still it happens
By Mickey Zeldes  March 6, 2015 12:00 am
Fortunately, we don’t see much serious animal neglect in Rohnert Park. Nothing like what they see in some of the other parts of the country or even in more rural parts of California. We are lucky in that. When we do see an animal in need of attention it’s usually just a poodle type of dog or a longhaired cat with matted fur. Granted that is a very uncomfortable condition and can cause skin issues but it’s not life threatening.When an animal like that comes into the shelter as a stray, we can help directly by cleaning her up and giving her the grooming needed or if reclaimed by an owner we can require them to remedy the situation. If someone calls in concerned about an animal in their neighborhood, we can have an officer go out and do a welfare check to see if the complaint is warranted. If so, we can, again, require the owner to take care of the animal. The tricky ones are when an animal comes in with their owner for some other reason, perhaps for a free microchip or to buy a license and we notice signs of neglect.

We certainly don’t want to discourage people from coming to the shelter or from taking advantage of our services when we are out in the community by being heavy handed. Usually, we hope that it’s just from a lack of knowledge or awareness and try the gentle education approach first. Some people don’t really know about the health concerns that come with a heavy flea infestation or with severe dental disease. They think it’s just a cosmetic nuisance and keep putting off dealing with it. Usually, just having the discussion with people about what the problem is and how important it is to deal with it sooner rather than later is enough to resolve the situation.

This topic came to mind as we had two such situations just this week – a Persian cat came in for a microchip (yay!) and had mats all over the belly (not visible to the eye – and the fur on the top of the cat was OK so you wouldn’t know about the problem unless you reached under her belly for some reason) and the poor dear was crawling with fleas. When the owner was shown the condition of the fur on the cat’s underside she was shocked and embarrassed and agreed to have it taken care of. The second animal was a miniature poodle that came in stray. He also had lots of mats. It’s amazing how many owners don’t groom their pets during the winter thinking they need their coat for warmth during the cool weather and then strip them in the spring. Grooming has to be done regularly for the animal’s comfort and health. Letting them get completely matted to the point that their legs are hobbled together and then stripping them down completely should not be the norm. Take a moment to run your hands over your pet – I mean really go through the fur everywhere, under the arms, in the groin area, under the ears (if they are the droopy kind) and see if you feel any mats or see any fleas. Now would be a great time to take care of them!

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