Remember the Kenosha News coverage this past summer about the severely emaciated little Shih Tzu that was starved to death by her owner?
It's a case I can't forget.
It continues to haunt the staff of the Kenosha Animal Hospital.
That poor little dog was initially confiscated by the local humane officer and brought to us for treatment. We spent four days giving her round-the-clock care. Then the humane officer returned with the owner to reclaim the slowly improving, yet still critical, four and one-half pound Shiloh.
We pleaded with the owner to let us to continue Shiloh's careâ€”at our expenseâ€”if she would relinquish ownership to either us or our local humane society. The answer: she would rather watch Shiloh die and bury her than give her up.
We dove into Wisconsin's animal protection laws . . . only to discover that they were horrifically inadequate.
We kept appealing to the owner, who according to news reports was drug-addicted and homeless. "Let us continue to provide care at our hospital." But again she refused. We told her the dog would die without that care. She said she didn't believe us.
Unfortunately, we were right. Shiloh died the next evening.
Could we have guaranteed Shiloh's survival if she'd left the dog with us? No. But we could have guaranteed that Shiloh would have a very good chance.
And that's all we wanted: a chance to save that life.
There are a number of questions that immediately come to mind. In today's society, what constitutes animal neglect, abuse, and cruelty? Why was a severely neglected pet returned to an owner who was not able to even properly care for herself? What can be done to improve Wisconsin statutes to protect animals?
Gandhi said: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Together, let's improve Wisconsin moral progressâ€”for all the Shilohs' sakes.
I am proud to introduce the new office manager at the Kenosha Animal Hospital, Shannon. She will assist me with the remainder of this and future articles on this crucial topic. More importantly, Shannon will take a lead role with the formation of a grass-roots effort to improve Wisconsin's Animal Welfare laws.
William T. Carlisle, DVM
I am excited to be such an integral part of this new endeavor. Knowing that Shiloh's life could've had a different outcome had the laws protected him was heartbreaking. I have always had a passion for animals and their well-being but little Shiloh's case has fueled my vengance for change in Wisconsin's Animal Welfare laws. After this tragedy, I dove into the Animal Welfare laws of our state only to find that they are very vague and do not give trained veterinarians any authority when it comes to cases of abuse or neglect.
Shannon Adamczyk, Office Manager