Working the crime and emergency service beat comes with its fair share of sad stories. More often than not, people are both the perpetrators and victims, but sometimes animals are involved too and their circumstances and can be just as unfortunate.

Earlier this month, more than 100 dogs, cats and horses were seized at the site of an alleged puppy mill in Fannin County, near Honey Grove. Investigators with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas described an awful scene in which the dogs were packed into small cages, covered in waste and suffering from a host of medical conditions. The Fannin County Sheriff’s office said multiple horses, which appeared to be unhealthy and underfed, were also found.

Thankfully, the animals were removed from the property and from the care, or lack thereof, of the two owners. The man and woman who kept the animals have since been arrested and charged with cruelty to animals.

As the owner of a dog myself and a general lover of animals and wildlife, it’s hard for me to imagine treating animals such as these so poorly. Many of them will likely have to undergo extensive medical treatment and some may even be too sick to rehabilitate.

As sad as this story may be, my hope is that people will see it as an opportunity. If you see an animal in your neighborhood that appears to be suffering from abuse or neglect, call to report it. If you are considering purchasing a pet from a breeder, be sure to do your research on the seller and visit the site where he or she raises the animals. And rather than purchase a pet from a breeder, consider adopting one from your local shelter or agency.

A pet can be a wonderful addition to your life and your family. While it’s true that pets are not humans, and our society views the value of their lives differently, they still deserve to be treated humanely and cared for appropriately. And its clear that those who deny that level of treatment and care can face consequences.

Happy birthday Wednesday to A.J. Cannon of Gunter; Alan Geller, Anitdra Mask, Carolyn Cross, Ricky Cabezas, Yumiko Vernon, and, all of Sherman; Djuna Forrester of Forrestburg; Ann Cundiff of Southmayd; J.J. Wallace of Luella; Robert L. Hunter and Mary Taylor, both of Denison; and Bria Jordan of Little Elm.