To the editor:
I am compelled to express my utter disappointment and sadness over the decision to seize and euthanize the pet raccoon belonging to Cora Peterson of Smithfield.
Peterson took in the distressed baby raccoon, named him Meeko and cared for him for a year, as he became a beloved family pet. He was kept inside and was not a danger to anyone. Yet, for reasons known only to them, local officials demanded she relinquish her pet or release it into the wild. When she did not choose to do either, officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources came in and quickly took her pet and euthanized it.
Why the rush? Even stray dogs taken to county dog pounds are protected by a mandatory holding period before action can be taken. This was not a rabid animal, no efforts were made to determine its temperament and sanctuary placement was being arranged. I'm not sure what is more terrifying: the swiftness with which the blow was dealt against this woman and her pet, or the notion by some that this was the humane thing to do. And how ironic is it that this incident occurred during "Be Kind to Animals Week?"
As the operator of a private animal shelter in Jefferson County, I see people who abuse animals, yet they face no consequences. Why is more effort put into seizing a poor raccoon than holding animal abusers accountable? I also see many people in our area who have a heart and much compassion for animals. That makes it even harder to understand this tragic incident. How was this allowed to happen? Someone let Cora Peterson and Meeko down.
Let's not let it happen again.