APL advocates for adopting household pets


Teresa Brummett

SPRINGFIELD – There is no denying it when it’s said that animals play a huge part of our lives. So, when stories come out that have people doing some brutal things to animals it’s heartbreaking. It’s hard to believe when you look on the internet and pull up the abuse of animal’s stories like a recent one back in November 2015 where a woman posted a photo of her chocolate lab by the name of Brown on Facebook with his mouth taped shut with duct tape and joked about it. She was on Facebook saying that “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!” The course just a few short minutes later after a lot of hate messages, she changed her posts and said for everyone not to panic. That the duct tape was only on for a minute or two. But he hasn’t barked since…Point Made. And the only thing that she received was a slap on the wrist when she was found guilty on charges of animal cruelty. And since the officials were not able to find any swelling around the dog’s mouth, she was allowed to keep him.

But it’s stories like these that touch our hearts and that’s why a lot more people are adopting from shelters than ever before. And if it saves an animal’s life, then everyone wins. Recently the Humane Society released a fact that during one single year those one million animals are killed or abused in domestic violence every year. Then you figure in the statistics from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA for short, said that 37% – 47% of all households in the United States have at least one dog. While 30% – 37% of homes have at least one cat. How many of these pets are in that one million amount?

Another terrible case was in May of 2015 where a dog by the name of Caitlyn. A 15-month-old Pit Bull who had been found in Charleston, South Carolina. But in this case, Caitlyn was bleeding from her snout and she was in bad shape. A concerned resident of the area immediately called 911 and the story went on from there. Vet techs saying that this is the worst case that has ever been seen. To leave this dog in pain, where she was unable to eat or drink. And now in a position where she may lose her tongue is just heartbreaking. After almost a week a 41-year-old man was arrested. Facing 6 months to 5 years, plus a $ 5,000.00 fine. What is it going to take for people to realize that animals are special?

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) commented saying that if one in every five Americans would adopt a cat or dog in the next year not one single healthy cat or dog would have to die or spend the rest of their lives in a shelter. Households in 2015 -2016 with a pet averaged 79.7 million in one year. Imagine how much better people, in general, would feel if they had a pet in their home. Since having a pet is medically been found to help calm a stressed person down almost immediately, just by seeing the animal.

There are over 60 shelters just in Illinois alone. That’s not counting all the other 49 states in America and The District of Columbia. Where there are shelters, no-kill shelters, foster care and rescue organizations. There is one organization called Villalobos which is in New Orleans, Louisiana. A T.V.show called Pitbulls and Parolees on Animal Planet. At this rescue center, they take in mostly Pit Bull breed dogs. With all of the dog fighting cases, people seem to think that Pitbulls are one of the worst breeds. But, it’s just because of the way they have been raised and taught, to fight. And from personal experience, I can tell you that my Pit minds better than my children. And he also is sweet as can be. Very well natured and smart. His only downfall is wanting to jump to get a petting as I enter the door. Villalobos takes all breeds and cats on occasion.

But this place doesn’t only take in animals they also hire those parolees. Giving them all a “second chance” at a great life. They’ve even gotten to a point that they have set up a program where prisoners that are still in jail are set up with a dog. They then spend 24/7 with the dog they are given and it’s from there that the prisoners take care of the animal and train the dog to do basic actions and learn how to socialize with different dogs and people which allows for the dogs to eventually get adopted out to a loving family.

But, here in Springfield the Animal Protective League or APL for short are doing their part as well and are stepping up to help. Not only can you drop off wet/dry food for cats and dogs. You can drop off cat litter, blankets, and monetary donations are always accepted. And the money goes right back into APL to help with basic costs including the department where they spay and neuter cats and dogs. But, that’s not all. Usually twice a year they offer a program where you can bring in your pet and get them spayed or neutered for free. This helps with the overgrowth population of animals running around Springfield and the surrounding areas. The staff at the spay and neuter clinic are educated and make it fast and easy to get the animals fixed and back home. They recently started up a program that they are calling Barn cat program. This program helps in two ways. First, they are completely free to anyone who wants a barn cat. All cats have been spay or neutered. And for those of you who have a barn or shed where you need to get rid of mice. Well, this program is perfect for you.  

Another thing APL does to make money is during the state fair you can park your vehicle at the APL parking lot for a small donation that goes directly back to APL. They have also had several benefits during the year and even go to local pet stores for adoption days. But, don’t think that if you can’t donate an item that that’s all you can do. They are always in need of volunteers to help in any way possible. Cleaning out cages, walking dogs, changing the litter. Just spending time with a pet helps the animal with less stress.  So, when that special family comes in they’ll be in happier and ready to go to their new home. Even the Lamp here at Lincoln Land is no exception to giving back. For the past two years, the Lamp has donated all the old copies of the Lamp newspapers to the APL. To be used in the cat’s cages or where ever they are needed.

Animals have been proven to release people from stress-related problems. What better way to help an animal than to adopt one? To help those animals who can’t help themselves. Besides animals just want to be loved, and we need to help any way we can.

Teresa Brummett can be reached at [email protected]