Pets abandoned by irresponsible owners

By Rich Bruen

Along with the first days of school comes homesickness. One of the natural ways many students try to cope is to buy or adopt a new pet.

However, according to Lou Lichthardt, animal control warden of DeKalb County, this may not be such a good idea.

“We see a lot of animals abandoned around the holidays and especially around Christmas and the end of the school year,” she said. “While we cannot be sure it’s just students doing it, the facts would seem to point in that direction.”

According to Jackie Hassebrock, rental consultant at Amber Manor Apartments, many students show a lot of irresponsibility when it comes to pets.

“A major problem that we have is that when students go home, they will leave the animal locked in a vacant apartment, usually without food or water, for as long as three days on some occasions,” she said.

She also said that Amber Manor has given tenants fines as high as $1,000 for pet damage.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) advises students to wait before getting a pet.

One place where students can bring unwanted pets instead of abondonding them is the Animal Welfare Center, Baseline Road, Genoa, which is just north of DeKalb. The center also adopts animals, but requires written permission from landlords for apartment residents.

“We are a non-profit orginization which can keep the animals alive for as long as possible before they’re placed,” said Gerrie Hayward, director of the center. “If they’re abondoned and the county picks them up, they will be put to sleep if they are unclaimed after seven days.”

Hayward urges students to phone before bringing out any animal. The phone number for the center is 784-5924. Regular business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to noon.

The fee is $25.00 for a dog and $10.00 to take a cat.