A Closer Look At Animal Abuse And Cruelty In West Michigan

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jun 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-18 07:29:53-04

HOLLAND, Mich.– A puppy left stranded for weeks on the streets in Holland is finally getting the care it needs, and professionals say it’s a case that is, sadly, too common.

And after digging through data on neglect, it’s clear that cases like this are a problem in several counties across West Michigan.

Charlie, a five-month-old puppy, was brought to Mapleview Animal Hospital in Holland Saturday.  Dr. Jim Bader says the dog is at least 10 pounds underweight and has an untreated case of puppy mange tjat led to a serious infection.

“I see that on a daily basis in Guatemala,” said Dr. Bader. “I shouldn’t see that in Holland, where it’s a totally different base of how we should care for our pets.”

Dr. Bader says Charlie was definitely someone’s pet and that “he is too sweet and too socially acceptable to not have been somebody’s dog at some point in time.”

In Kent County last year, animal control dealt with an estimated 860 suspected complaints of neglect and cruelty.

The Calhoun County Animal Shelter says in 2012, 53 abused dogs were brought in, and the Ottawa County Sheriffs Office says they responded to an estimated 60 possible calls on abuse or neglect.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Bader said. “(Charlie) is just a symptom of the disease. There are animals like this in shelters and rescue groups all across the country on a day-to-day basis, and unless we step up and start interacting and coming forward, this is going to happen all too often.”