Tahlequah Daily Press


May 13, 2013

Punishing the animal dumpers

TAHLEQUAH — Animal dumping is not a problem unique to Cherokee County, but anyone who’s been keeping up with current events for the past decade or so will acknowledge it’s especially prevalent here.

Scarcely does a two-week period go by that the Press doesn’t receive a phone call or email from a chagrined local resident complaining about animal-dumping, and asking us to expose the problem. We have written many stories about animal-dumping – at least four or five a year, and usually more, if incidents warrant. Many people may not have seen these stories, though, and in their frustration, they  don’t know where else to turn when the problem lands on their own doorsteps.

Most recently, a Stick Ross resident reported seeing more than a dozen animals abandoned in that area over a few weeks. Then a Jamestown resident said his cat fell victim to what he believed was a trap set by a neighbor. Another report told of a case up north along the river, wherein a homeowner heard a car pull over in a driveway, a door open, and three sharp yelps from a dog, before the car door slammed and the vehicle peeled out and headed on down Highway 10. The dog was then seen standing beside the road, looking forlornly in the direction the vehicle took.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and that impetus has driven otherwise good-hearted people to commit disturbing acts. One example is the young man who killed a stray pit bull a few months ago, and made the mistake of posting a photo on Facebook. The post went viral and wound up drawing death threats against him and his family that continue to this day. Then there’s the individual who may have set a trap that caught a neighbor’s cat, with amputation of a hind leg being the result. While we are not trying to excuse the setting of traps, it was likely precipitated by an abundance of strays in the area that were preying on birds and other wildlife.

Animal rights advocates were outraged by the pit bull killing, and we expect the same is true for those who read about the “cat trap” in Friday’s paper. But the lion’s share of wrath should be directed at the people who abandon their animals – and thus started the sad cycle.

Even the most well-meaning folks are ambivalent about what action to take. In an online poll conducted last week on the Press website, 245 people responded to a question asking what they’d do if someone dumped an animal in their yard. The largest group – 33 percent, or 81 voters – said they’d find a home for the animal. In an ideal world, that may be true, but anyone who has volunteered at the local Humane Society shelter knows this is not always possible.

Thirty-six respondents, or 15 percent, admitted they would kill the stray or have a relative or friend do it. While that might sound callous, it could be better than letting the animal starve. Another 15 percent, 36 people, said they’d keep the animal – but again, while a nice sentiment, it’s not always possible. Three percent, or seven people, said they’d take the animal to a vet to have it euthanized. And most troubling, 11 people, or 4 percent, said they’d take the animal elsewhere and leave it, hoping for the best. Finally, the second-largest segment of respondents – 74, or 30 percent – said their action would depend on the circumstances.

One thing’s for certain: People will keep dumping animals as long as they’re not called into account for it. Animal lovers can do their part by keeping an eye out for offenders, and reporting them to law enforcement. Officials should pursue charges against these irresponsible people; a stiff fine might make them think twice about dumping again.

In the meantime, advocates can help the Humane Society in its ongoing campaign to educate pet owners about spaying and neutering – and perhaps donate money to support the low-cost clinics. To put it bluntly, a pet owner who can’t afford to have his pet spayed or neutered can’t afford to have a pet, period. Failure to take care of your pets is a mark of irresponsibility – not just to your pet, but to your neighbors.

Text Only
  • Tourism Council and chamber should cut the proverbial cord

    They are defined by two separate purposes and operate under two distinctive sets of bylaws, but years of conflicting opinions have left lingering questions and confusion over the relationship between the decades-old Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the younger Tahlequah Area Tourism Council.

    July 30, 2014

  • NSU needs to be more candid when its plans go awry

    Many area residents were disappointed to learn this week that the NSU Fitness Center, and its all-important indoor lap pool, won’t open next month, as originally announced.
    This latest delay is no surprise.

    July 28, 2014

  • Higher premiums a just reward for drunken drivers

    Over the past several years, Oklahoma has slipped in many of the polls that count. This week, we learned Tulsa is No. 4 on a list of cities with high rates of fatal DUI accidents. Is anyone really surprised?

    July 25, 2014

  • Maybe it’s time to think about having another BalloonFest

    The 18th annual BalloonFest was the last one held, in 2010. In summer 2011, when the Daily Press staff hadn’t heard anything about the much-anticipated event, we started asking questions.

    July 23, 2014

  • If you see a drunken driver, take the time to call in a report

    If you see something, say something. You’ve heard the warning, and seen it imprinted on placards at airports. In the wake of 9/11, it became a national mantra, mainly aimed at spotting potential terrorist activities. But it’s good advice anytime, and for any reason, even at the local level.

    July 14, 2014

  • City officials should stop squabbling and try to work together

    It’s bad enough that the Chamber of Commerce scandal has given Tahlequah a black eye. But if the bickering among city officials doesn’t stop, the community will have a complete set of shiners for its public face.

    July 11, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    Despite pressure from some quarters, neither the Press nor anyone else who values full disclosure will be clamming up until all the facts are known, and those who are responsible meet with justice.

    July 10, 2014

  • Only full disclosure will restore trust in the chamber

    A few board members for the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce are saying they’ve heard nothing but positive things lately – about the chamber itself, and presumably, about themselves.

    July 9, 2014

  • Employer-sponsored insurance may now be a ‘hostage’ situation

    When the fallout settles from the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, many Americans might decide they’re better off with health insurance that doesn’t come from their boss.

    July 7, 2014

  • With confidence in Congress at 7 percent, time for a new slate

    Note to Congress: We don’t like you. Not at all.
    A Gallup poll released Monday, June 30 confirmed what most of us already know: the American public is disgusted with the House and Senate. The survey recorded the lowest level of confidence since Gallup began asking the question in 1991: a whopping 7 percent. That’s not a typographical error; it’s a single digit.

    July 2, 2014


Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways