What Susquehanna SPCA director Liz Mackey described as an “appalling” case of animal neglect is yet another reason for the Otsego County to take action.
“A few more days and they would have been close to dying.”
That’s what veterinary technician Stacey Grocott said about a pair of Yorkshire terriers that were found inside a Worcester house that had recently been sold at auction.
The dogs apparently had been left inside pet carriers for months, their fur matted and their teeth nearly falling out.
A third dog, found in the garage, was in better condition but also needed veterinary care.
It’s likely that all three dogs will be able to recover to live out their days in a new, and we hope happier, home. And we are grateful that the SPCA and Cooperstown Veterinary Associates have been able to get these dogs the care that they so badly needed.
But the question that remains when we hear about cases like this is: Could something have been done to prevent them?
Right now, if someone observes an animal that appears to be in distress or neglected, it can be difficult for officials to act. The sheriff’s department and other other police agencies can investigate, but without a dedicated officer to handle such matters, it can be a strain on resources.
And animal control officers, to whom people often turn with their complaints, have limited powers. Criminal investigation is not among them.
It’s impossible for us to know if having an animal cruelty officer could have stopped those dogs from being neglected so severely. But there have been other cases in the past — too many, in fact — that could have benefited from the presence of such a professional.
Two veterinarians recently wrote to The Daily Star in support of the creation of an animal cruelty officer position.