By Stephanie Collins

Just a few weeks ago, Pit Bull-puppy, Malachi, was rushed into surgery after being chained to a truck and drug for over a mile in Bowling Green – a horrifying act that left Malachi with only 50 percent of his skin remaining.

Malachi’s story was brought to my attention when it popped up on my Facebook’s newsfeed. Anger and grief instantly struck me, emotions shared by thousands of followers and support groups dedicated to his recovery.

Desperate to learn more on his case, I turned my attention to a Google search where ongoing lists of stories related to the pup were attached with “graphic images” warnings. As I looked at Malachi’s photo,  a thin, beaten down animal with patches of bloody skin visible throughout his mangled coat crossed my vision. It then dawned on me just how often I read similar stories about abuse to man’s best friend.

Malachi’s owner claims it was accident.

He said he forgot Malachi was chained to his truck bed and drove away, oblivious to what followed. During the drive, the chain broke loose and Malachi was brought to an animal hospital.

The owner said he thought his friend had put him in the garage, and said he rushed to see him at the hospital.

I believe him.

But whether it was an accident or not does not change my opinion on the owner; he was negligent, and the incident could have been prevented.

Though I wish there was something we as a society could do to prevent the endless amount of dog abuse reported, we cannot.  We can preach, spread the word, donate money – all of which serve a great purpose – but it will not change the actions sick people choose to make against dogs, especially in a state with animal abuse laws so scarce, abusers are practically ushered in.

We can, however, prevent unnecessary accidental abuse and death cases by being proactive by:

Being wary of purchasing a dog from a pet store because you may be unknowingly supporting a puppy mill, according to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) International. Its website states the only sure way to avoid supporting a puppy mill is to adopt from an animal shelter or rescue.

Spaying or neutering your dog. Many neglected and abused dogs are the result of an unwanted litter.

 Doing your research. If you plan to get a dog, be more responsible than to choose the first one that catches your eye. Just like people, dogs come with a variety of traits and personalities. Depending on the breed, a dog may be more laid-back, aggressive, require more activity and so on. By researching, you can better understand your current dog or know what to look for in a future one.

 Do not put your dog in a situation that limits its ability to protect itself. Chains are the main problem for this. Imagine being attacked while chained to a tree; the odds would definitely be against you.

Above all, I urge people to find some common sense. You are not obligated to care about animal rights, but please, don’t add to the problem.