Animal cruelty in Suffolk

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

As a member of the Suffolk Humane Society’s Board of Directors, I also volunteer as the director of humane education and have been an active volunteer with the organization for more than two years.

Last week, I learned about the two recent cases of animal cruelty in Suffolk. One case involved Snowball, a tethered dog that received “a laceration to its neck” and later died. Another case involved a dog that was taken into the woods, shot and killed.

Virginia law now makes it a crime to harm companion animals, with some offenses being a class 6 felony.

Email newsletter signup

Our sympathies go out to the family that lost its pet, and we hope that Snowball’s loss will encourage people to avoid tethering. Many communities in more than 30 states have banned continuous tethering — or tying up or chaining a dog — not just because it leaves the animal an easy target (as in this instance), but also because dogs, who are highly social, can become neurotic, anxious and even aggressive when forced to live their entire existence in confined areas.

There are many different reasons why people hurt their pets, and sometimes it is simply because they are cruel. But for people who are looking for help, there are services available to you and your pet.

If you decide that you no longer want your pet, you can take it to your local shelter. Suffolk Animal Control is open Monday through Saturday and accepts animal surrenders. If you do not have enough money to buy pet food, the Suffolk Humane Society may be able to help provide your pet with food (we gladly accept pet food donations). Four times a month, the Suffolk Humane Society sponsors the Virginia Beach SPCA’s Neuter Scooter, which provides low-cost spaying and neutering surgery for pets. These are just a few of the services we offer in our community.

The Suffolk Humane Society is committed to a humane education program that teaches compassion and kindness towards both people and animals. We want to teach ways to commit to living an ethical, sustainable and peaceful existence on earth with animals and humans, alike.

Please visit our Web site,, or call 374-1476 for more information on our services or to learn how you can help those who cannot help themselves.