December 31, 2012 by Whispering Smith
Published in the Littlehampton Gazette December 20th. 2012
A DOG DAY NIGHT: Many, many years ago when I was a young lad, my dad took me to see farmer John Helyer’s cattle. They were housed in a rustic, enclosed cattle yard just off the old Worthing Road the buildings long since demolished and the land become part of the sprawling Beaumont Estate. The animals were huge red beasts as I recall, seemingly happy with their lot and very friendly towards John who told me then that, just because they were being reared for food was not a reason to treat them badly or a reason not to make their lives as contented as possible. That stuck with me and, although far from being a vegetarian, my favourite meal is a fresh wild rabbit and I have, I confess, partaken of a Budgen’s grey squirrel, I have never been wantonly cruel to an animal and have no real understanding of why or how some folk can be. The women who left the dog tied to a pub railing in LA were obviously unkind to that animal way before that callous act. The poor creature was reported by the RSPCA as being malnourished and ill both conditions which can, with some consideration and an approach to available help, be remedied. I am surprised that such neglect was not obvious to a neighbour or a friend who may have been able to offer advice. The various animal charities are reporting that during these austere times many pets are abandoned, which is in itself is an extreme act of cruelty, as well as being generally uncared for. Across the country one reads of vandals killing family pets, horse mutilations, birds being shot with airguns, organised dog fights and most certainly badger baiting and hare coursing are not things of the past. Sadly, animal cruelty, the abandonment of pets and their lack of care is on the increase and as the economy blusters around it will get worse. A good time of the year to remember the old saying ‘a dog is not just for Christmas’ and, where we can, offer some help to the many worthwhile charities who shoulder that heavy burden of animal welfare.