We must respect animals

4 weeks ago

To the editor:

Did you know that over six million animals are surrendered to animal shelters every year in the United States and many never find loving homes? These include dog, cats, hamsters, birds, rabbits and ferrets. They all need us as much as we need them. Pets can be wonderful to have around, but most importantly animals need to be treated fairly and properly cared for.

I was on the couch with my mom one morning, and on Facebook we saw all of these sad photos of animals that have been in the shelter for years. There was even a cat who had been abused that the Maine Coast Animal Rescue was helping find a new home. Seeing this made me feel sad because the cat had been hurt by people he trusted, and it made me wonder how people could ever be so cruel to animals. My family once had a dog that we adopted, but before she lived with us she was tied up outside all the time, even in the cold Maine winters. It made me happy to know she would never be cold again, but I wish no other animal had to be cold, hungry, or feel unloved. Pets are family members and deserve to be treated fairly and with compassion. They have feelings just like we do.

Bringing a furry friend into your home is great, but the most important thing is do not adopt or buy an animal if you are unwilling or unable to take good care of it. So many animals suffer that way and a pet is a lifetime commitment. Every pet needs regular vet appointments and lots of attention and love. Animals will show you unconditional love, but you have to do your part, too. 

If you cannot adopt, you can donate money or supplies to your local animal shelter to help them take care of the animals waiting to find new homes. Houlton is lucky to have the Houlton Humane Society and the Ark Animal Sanctuary.

Always show animals the respect they deserve.

Aurelia Smith