ALTHOUGH horrific incidents of animal cruelty are the ones who most frequently grab headlines, the most common type of cruelty encountered by vets is neglect and abandonment of pets.
Throughout her 20 years in practice, PetVet's Annette Quegan has encountered abuse of innocent animals in many forms – from knife attacks to sheer neglect by their owners.
But one appalling innocent has forever remained with her.
'Around 10 years ago an old man brought a dog into me whose elbow had been broken for a week. There was nothing we could do surgically so we put a cast on the dog and told the owner to bring him back to me in a couple of days. Six weeks later he came back in with the dog and there was a horrendous smell from the poor animal. The dog had eaten though the middle of the cast. His leg was swollen and had rotten away. I took him from the owner and when I went to look at his leg closer the bottom of his paw came off in my hand'.
'That was all down to pure neglect,' said Annette. 'It really horrified me. I will never forget it'.
The dog's leg had to be amputated. However, he made a recovery and was rehomed.
In the worst cases, pets have been neglected and abused so much they are so emotionally scarred that rehoming them may not be an option.
'In some cases of horrendous cruelty and neglect, even though you would love to give the pets a chance they are so emotionally scarred you couldn't rehome them,' explained Annette.
'People should be providing adequate care for any animals in their care. Pets can't take responsibility for themselves,' she said.
'Some owners don't really know how to care for a pet and others just don't care. People need to be aware that they are responsible for their animals. I think that is the root of animal abuse and neglect problems, it also comes down to people just not caring,' added Annette.