Starving dog’s plight sparks calls for action on animal cruelty

This photo of an emaciated dog circulated on Facebook caused widespread shock and outrage
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By Adia Wynter

Animal lovers are demanding more care and cognisance to counteract incidents of animal cruelty seen across the nation.

In a recent post on Dogs and Cats of Antigua’s Facebook page, a dog is shown to be suffering from severe malnourishment and mange, apparently due to owner neglect. The creature’s plight sparked uproar with many people calling for perpetrators of such cases to be prosecuted.

“There are animal abuse laws… The laws don’t mean anything if they’re not enforced. I’d like, for once, to see the laws enforced. I’d like, for once, to see someone take the lead,” said Joy Farrell, of the Dogs and Cats of Antigua charity.

The prevalence of animal cruelty in the twin island nation is overbearing, Farrell claimed.

“We should all be ashamed that we allowed this to happen. We should all hang our heads in shame,” she said.

Farrell went on to express displeasure felt towards the government’s perceived lack of response to instances of cruelty.

She said, “I got a response from the police commissioner to say that they will investigate it but they never do… I sent the name, I gave them the address. I gave them everything they could possibly want, but I know no investigation has been done because they never do.”

Colin Quinn, manager of PAAWS, the country’s largest rescue shelter for dogs and cats, also believes that animal cruelty needs to be urgently addressed – not just in Antigua and Barbuda but in the world over.

“There is animal cruelty in the entire world. It’s more prevalent because we are a small island,” he said.

Quinn suggested more love and compassion could help address the issue.

“I think the thing [we need] is a serious programme to teach children about having an animal: how to care for this animal, teach them a little compassion and things like that.”

Quinn’s belief is that there are many individuals who are animal lovers much like himself. He is confident that much of the neglect being seen around the island is due to a lack of knowledge as opposed to a lack of care.

“If you don’t know something, you can’t do it,” Quinn said. “Since I was a little boy, I loved dogs, but as I grew, I learned… and I think that is what is lacking in Antigua,” he added.

Police spokesman Inspector Frankie Thomas told Observer police were aware of the incident in question and were looking into it.

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