Generally, staying out of the personal affairs of others is not just polite — it’s a part of our social contract. At times, however, speaking up is as necessary as it is uncomfortable.
For most, speaking up is a choice we can decide not to make. Yet for others, such as mandated reporters, not raising suspicions with relevant officials could cost you your job.
Mandated reporters are most often associated with children, the disabled, and the elderly — populations that are easy to take advantage of. Ideally, if a victim is in a dangerous situation and no one intervenes, mandated reporters serve as a last line of defense in getting them removed from dangerous environments.
On Feb. 23, Ontario, California, police responded to a call at a residence following a child endangerment claim.
One can never be totally prepared going into an unknown and potentially volatile situation, but what they found was shocking nonetheless.
The property was covered in filth. Urine, trash, and cockroaches cluttered the floor of the home.
While there is no mention of children in these preliminary reports, 12 dogs and one dove were found. The dove was caged outside with no food or water.
Four adult dogs, two Yorkshire Terriers and 2 Chihuahuas, were running around the backyard which was covered in feces. The remaining 8 dogs, puppies, were confined to one cage.
“They had no food and water,” Silvia Lumus, senior cruelty investigator for the Inland Valley Humane Society. “They were standing on their own filth. Their coats were sticky because of urine and feces.”
To top it of, the puppies were left without food or water. In short, these animals were being abused.
Animal protection and anti-cruelty laws have been on the books in every state since 2014. Animal abuse in California is punishable by a loss of animal custody, fines, and in extreme cases, jail time.
Officials assessed that the sub-standard conditions they found the animals in met the criteria for animal cruelty and neglect under Penal Code 597t PC “confining animals in such a manner that they become entangled or injured and/or have no access to food or water.” Subsequently, the unidentified homeowners were arrested.
The animals were taken to the Inland Valley Humane Society and S.P.C.A. shelter in Pomona, California. There they will be evaluated, treated, and hopefully rehomed.
Speaking up can be uncomfortable, yet when it’s needed, the act can save lives. Whoever tipped off officials undoubtedly saved the lives of these precious fur babies.
The motives of the animal owners are unknown. Were they malicious abusers or simply inept at caring for the animals? For now, we just don’t know.
Thanks to the bravery of a Good Samaritan who was willing to get involved, rescue arrived before the starving animals met an ultimate fate. Now these innocent creatures will get the care they need and a second chance at life.
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