The need to regulate ‘rescues’ is urgent

To the Editor:

The alleged cruelty at Happy Cat Rescue — including dozens of cats warehoused in stacked cages in a poorly ventilated garage; cats denied veterinary care and exercise; and cats being adopted out despite being sick, pregnant, and feral, among other problems — is, unfortunately, anything but isolated.

Due to the lack of regulations on animal “rescues” in New York and nationwide, neglect and abuse are rampant at these facilities. Nearly every week brings reports of animals suffering and dying slowly and painfully of diseases, injuries from fights in crowded cages, and untreated and unnoticed infections; starving to death; and even being sexually abused at self-professed “rescues.”

In September, 60 dogs, four cats, and a bird were reportedly removed from a self-professed “rescue” in Waterville after authorities received complaints about sick puppies adopted from the group, six of whom had died of parvovirus, coccidiosis, and/or pneumonia.

That same month, authorities removed 89 dead cats and kittens from the home of a self-professed “rescuer” in Montgomery. More dead cats had reportedly been found “buried outside in small cardboard boxes that doubled as caskets.”

The need to regulate “rescues” — including subjecting them to frequent, unannounced inspections — could not be more urgent. People who care about animals can help, by asking their lawmakers to pass these regulations, and by funding and supporting real solutions to animal overpopulation, homelessness, and neglect.

Low- to no-cost spay/neuter services, mandatory sterilization requirements, and laws requiring responsible animal guardianship can prevent untold suffering. 

Teresa Chagrin

Animal Care and

Control Issues Manager

People for the Ethical

Treatment of Animals (PETA)

Norfolk, Virginia

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