To the Times: 
I was appalled to read Sept. 30 editorial “Animal abuse must be taken more seriously.”  A dog whipped so severely that its legs had to be amputated!  A few more animal and child abuse cases were cited in the editorial, which sickened me.  The article was right by stating that people who abuse defenseless animals tend to abuse vulnerable kids and adults.  People who abuse animals must be held accountable and punished to the extent of the law — not just fined.  Federal law has been established now for a seven-year imprisonment for animal abusers.
It is very important to remember that when animals are provoked or startled as in people creeping up from behind the animals to pet them, it startles the animals and they will use their defense mechanism to attack.  Then the poor animals are labeled as aggressive and punished or killed.  All animal shelter organizations must be very cautious when having people adopt, such as making sure people are mentally balanced and equipped to care for animals and, most importantly, if they can monetarily afford to take care of them.  Someone in the Sound Off section recently mentioned that the vet bills are too high.  I was told by a friend of a vet that humans have insurance to cover the costs, but vet insurance hardly covers much; hence, the high costs for vet bills.
There were a few animal abuse cases that stand out in my memory as I write this column.  The two dogs named Dolly and Cranberry who were brutally beaten so that their legs were broken.  A family friend reported this and the perpetrator arrested.  Then there were two puppies Gracie and Layla who were found starved, tortured and emaciated in a park.  Cases of cats found burned and tortured; another cat was found with an arrow stuck in it. A blind horse (later named Lily) was found abandoned in a sales stable in New Holland.  It was struck more than 120 times with a paintball gun and appeared to be in severe pain.  Fortunately, a vet adopted this horse, but it succumbed to a fall later on.  These are just a few incidences of animal cruelty that made the news.  I remember Anne Frank who wrote in her diary that in spite of everything she still believed people are really good at heart.  How can I agree with her sentiment and consider those who torture defenseless animals are human beings and good at heart?
It is imperative that friends, relatives and neighbors report any kind of cruelty and neglect of animals, children and domestic abuse.  Please make it your business to do so. I wholeheartedly agree with the editorial’s conclusion where it states that “Because the truth is that all abuse is abuse, and stopping it should be where we start.” Albert Einstein once said that "The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything."
Even though the editorial did not mention cats, there are more stray cats than dogs that no one seems to pay any interest in their abuse and neglect.  I am delighted to add that my husband and I rescued a stray cat that frequents our backyard, and we are very happy to have her as our indoor cat now.  She’s been with us for over three years, has been to the vet and is microchipped.  She has given us so much joy and is a real snuggle bug. Even though I am allergic to cat dander, I decided to manage my allergies with medication, room purifier, vacuuming, cleaning and washing couch covers frequently instead of having this cat freeze outdoors in winter and roast in summer.  To insert some humor here: my close friend and cousin, Liz, quipped that dogs will come to you when they hear their name called; cats will take a message and get back to you. In addition to saving a cat, we also erected two bird feeders and a bird bath in our yard and enjoy watching the birds frolic in the bird bath.  For squirrels, we crumble bread and place them beneath the bird feeders.  Please note that some bread contains too much sugar and may not be healthy for squirrels. We do what we can for whatever animals we can help around the house.   
The Christmas holidays are fast approaching.  I hope readers would be supportive and contribute to animal rescue organizations like Justice Rescue (see addresses below), in lieu of lavishing gifts on one another that no one is in dire need of.  For your convenience, I have inserted two mailing addresses for Justice Rescue:  PO Box 112, Woodlyn, PA 19094; and 2417 Welsh Road, Suite 21,​Box #326. Philadelphia, PA 19114.  
Isabel Gebhardt, Havertown


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