Pet owners need to care for animals responsibly

By Ruth Riley

I hate to say this, but this summer has been the worst ever in the years I have been taking the strays for the county.

Every single kennel is full, and I am turning dogs away. It almost seems that the more people find out about our work, the more dogs are abandoned.

It’s like people think we are here to make the “problem” go away. And the problem is people getting puppies as disposable toys for their children, never considering these are God’s creatures just like they are and their children are, who feel pain, loneliness and neglect.

I have talked myself hoarse over the past few years, telling people how every dog (and cat) who is spayed/neutered will prevent thousands of unwanted puppies who end up here, or in the case of kittens, probably will end up dead.

I feel like I am talking to a brick wall. It’s amazing to me the intelligent, college educated folks who still believe their male dog doesn’t need to be neutered (even though he has the capability to father puppies 365 days a year) and that their female dog will benefit from having a litter (or two).

They give these pups to whoever will take them, and then those pups grow up and a year later all 8 or 10 pups are now reproducing. Do the math.

If your children are begging for a pet, consider this very carefully. Children have no idea what is involved in having a living, breathing pet … they just know that they want what they want now.

Within a few days, it’s like every other toy, discarded. Then the dog suffers a horrible life on the end of a chain in your backyard, and you are teaching your children that this is OK.

Dogs are intelligent and easily trainable, but you as the parents are the ones who need to research the internet to learn how to teach your pet what you want him to do and not do.

They cannot read your mind. It’s your responsibility to do this if you choose to accept into your family a living, breathing innocent animal with feelings, who is totally dependent on you for it’s daily care.

Not only that, but these pups are not vaccinated or wormed and continue to spread disease. Your children can actually contract parasites directly from your dog if you don’t treat your new puppy for those parasites, or you will watch that puppy die a very painful and horrible death from Parvovirus or distemper if you don’t vaccinate it at the appropriate age.

Ruth Riley is the owner of Red Sky Rescue, an animal shelter in the Medora area. Jackson County paid Red Sky $29,700 in 2015 to shelter stray dogs and cats caught by the animal control director. Send comments to