Nebraska has a unique new “safe haven” law. Most states have laws that allow panicked parents to leave their infants in safety—better to surrender a baby to a hospital or police station than to leave him or her in a dumpster (or worse)—but Nebraska’s law doesn’t place an age limit on surrendered children.
Since this law went into effect three months ago, a total of 18 children—many from out of state—have been abandoned at hospitals and police stations in Nebraska. The children, whose ages range from 20 months to 17 years, include a 13-year-old boy from Michigan whose mother drove more than 12 hours last week to leave him at a Nebraska hospital.
This is obviously an upsetting situation, and the law is already under fire across the nation. And although we at PETA are also upset by the lack of responsibility demonstrated by this level of abandonment, we’re not surprised. After all, 25,000 unwanted animals are abandoned at animal shelters in Douglas and Sarpy counties in Nebraska each year.
And think about it: The dogs and cats who end up in animal shelters are the lucky ones. There are countless others who end up abandoned on the streets—neglected, starving, and sometimes abused, with no “safe haven” at all.
This is why PETA has created a billboard that stresses the importance of taking care of all who depend on us—animals and children alike.
Dogs and cats can live for 16 years or longer—almost the same amount of time, you might note, that responsible parents spend raising a child. Bringing an animal into your home is a lifetime commitment—and as PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch says, “Children and animals deserve better than to be dumped on a doorstep when they become inconvenient.”
Written by Amanda Schinke