Our View: As humans we must be humane

Published 9:09 am Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Residents of Washington Parish and its municipalities have long complained of animal issues, including homeless dogs roaming the streets individually or in packs in search of food, or dogs tied to posts and doomed to live their lives within a 4-foot radius, sometimes in blazing sunshine with no water within reach.

Individuals and more than one group have taken action to ease the suffering and remedy the situation through reporting, education, and spay and neuter programs, as well as more direct action.

Volunteer-run humane organizations take animals off the streets, from the small Bogalusa shelter where they are danger of being euthanized, and from the homes of people who can no longer provide the necessary care. But there are many more needy animals than there are foster homes.

The movement to have a parish animal shelter built has repeatedly stalled, even though a facility, abandoned in mid-construction, has sat at Rayburn Correctional Center for years.

Adding to the anguished frustration for the animal advocates is the fact that no one in authority seems to have had a true sense of urgency to stop the suffering and to save the lives.

Certainly, they must deal with pressing human issues, and time and funding are limited. But a life is a life, and, beyond that, the animals are innocent.

Now, with the plight of apparently starving horses as incentive, the parish and sheriff’s department are working with the Humane Society and others to develop a viable plan to enforce animal cruelty laws and to provide incentive for adherence by punishing offenders.

It is a very good step.

When human society domesticated animals for its own benefit, that action came with the responsibility of respecting and caring for those made dependent.

Yes, we need to take care of humans, but we owe it to the animals whose lives and environments we have altered to take care of them as well.

It is possible to do both, and we must find the way. It will be interesting to see what changes are initiated with the leaders of the parish and the other lovers of animals working together.