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Army deployes mistreating, abandoning pets
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Editor, At Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield we know that pets are part of the family.
Recently, the Coastal Courier published “Animal shelters full as soldiers deploy.” The article refers to phone calls made by Liberty County Humane Shelter staff to Stewart-Hunter, but the article does not include the position of Stewart-Hunter on this very sensitive and important topic.
First, if an Army family is considering getting a pet, they are advised to please do their homework first. Find out what you’re getting into before taking on the lifelong responsibility of pet ownership. Remember that once you adopt your pet, it becomes a member of the family. Remember to consider how vacations and deployments will affect your pet. They are asked bottom line, think first before you become a pet owner.
Second, we fully recognize that Stewart-Hunter is a contributor to animals being abandoned at the Liberty County shelter. There are more than 6,650 Army families in Liberty County, each one a potential pet-owning family. Some families do abandon their pets, and it tears at the heartstrings of the installation leadership. Most other soldiers and families do the right thing and set up pet care plans before deployments or vacations. They are further advised that planning means finding someone you can trust with your pet, arming that someone with a power of attorney so if their pet gets sick they can care for it. At the very least, they should make sure their pet has current vaccines and is healthy. Most important, pick someone who will tough it out with your pet through thick and thin. Don’t leave your pet with someone who will abandon it.
If Army families can’t find someone to take care of their pets, Fort Stewart Veterinary Service can help, but statistically, the chance of finding a new home through the vet’s adoption plan is slim. We also work hand-in-hand with the Liberty County animal shelter. Still, it is the responsibility of pet owners to ensure good care of their pets. We understand that it can be difficult to find the right person to watch a pet, but by watching out for each other’s pets we can avoid making our pets statistics. Soldiers and families are asked to call authorities when you see pet abuse and don’t leave your pet uncared for when you deploy or go on vacation. Lastly, they are asked to remember that pets are family, too.

Kevin M. Larson, Chief,
Public Communications
Public Affairs Office
Fort Stewart
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