You eat when you need to. You bathe when you need to. You exercise when you need to. If you’re outside when it’s cold you come back inside the minute you need to. You go to the bathroom when you need to. You do these things because you need to and because it keeps you safe and healthy. But many people don’t do these things for their pets. Some people think that owning a pet is easy. And then when they realize how difficult it is to own a pet, they get rid of them. Every year in the U.S. 2.7 million cats and dogs are left homeless. They outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. In the U.S. 6.5 million cats and dogs are put in shelters mostly because the owners don’t know how difficult owning pets can be. In other instances the animals are strays. Other times the cats or dogs are put in the shelters because they have been rescued from situations of cruelty. Animals have rights, just like people do. And when their owner does not give them those rights they are abusing that animal.
When someone abuses an animal it is one of the worst things they can do. The animal is innocent and doesn’t know why you are doing this to them. Abuse can be several different things. It can be hitting them, it can be yelling at them too often. It can be not feeding them enough; it can be not bathing them. It can be leaving them outside too long or not letting them outside enough to let them go to the bathroom (or cleaning their litter box if they use one) or get exercise. Every single one of those things just mentioned is a right that every animal should be given. If the animal’s owner does not give them those rights then they should not have a pet.
“I feel that there needs to be stricter laws to protect animals,” says Hope Evanoff, a French teacher here at LHS. She also thinks that “harming animals should result in much stiffer penalties.” The punishment for harming an animal is a fine of up to $3000 and/or a 1 year prison sentence for the first conviction, and $5000 and/or a 2 year prison sentence for a second conviction. Some people, such as Mme. Evanoff, feel as though those punishments aren’t strict enough. They think that the punishments should be harsher because by harming or killing an animal you are taking a life, it doesn’t matter that it’s not a person it’s still a life. “Animal rights are important, animals deserve to have rights just like people do,” says Natalie Nault, a former LHS student, saying that “they deserve to be treated humanely.” Many people think that animals should have rights. They are living things just like people are.
With the punishments that you can receive, there are still people who treat animals very inhumanely. There are people who leave their dogs outside for days or even weeks at a time, sometimes without food or water. Dogs should not be left alone indoors where the temperature can be regulated for more than six hours per day, let alone being left outside in the extreme heat or the freezing cold for days or weeks at a time. Dogs don’t have any sweat glands so they can overheat very quickly. “Growing up we never left our dogs outside in the winter for more than 5 minutes,” Natalie Nault says. “And during the summer we never left them alone outside for more than an hour so they could get exercise.”
“(My cats) are strictly indoor cats,” Mme Evanoff says. “My mother cat was abandoned when her previous owners moved away and she had to fend for herself during the winter. There are too many dangers for cats outside.” While cats can be left alone for longer than a dog, they can’t be left outside for very long if they’re allowed outside at all.
Cats and other domesticated pets are used to their food and water being given to them at a specific time every day; they don’t have to hunt for their food like stray animals do. If they aren’t inside and they have to look for their own food, they might not be able to eat and they might end up getting attacked by another animal.
Animal rights are important because they let people know what not to do to an animal. But there are still people who don’t follow the rules set by animal rights and they still abuse their animals. People everywhere need to know about animal rights so they don’t make wrong decisions while caring for their animal.