DEAR SUN SPOTS: This conversation I had with a technician during an appointment breaks my heart.

He is an Auburn resident who has witnessed a neighbor’s dog being mistreated many times, such as being left out in all kinds of weather without shelter. He saw the dog being punched and then kicked in the head by its owner in its yard.

Authorities responded. Dog not removed. What is the protocol for reporting animal abuse and what is the threshold for too much abuse? — No Name via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots has many people who help her find answers. Often this means finding the right person in a government bureaucracy. When it comes to Auburn, Sun Spots couldn’t do nearly as well without information assistant Tracy Pinkham, who has never failed to help quickly and efficiently.

In for this particular case, Tracy forwarded the question to Liz Allen, police planner with the Auburn Police Department, who wrote:

“The Auburn Police Department takes animal complaints seriously. Citizens are encouraged to call 9-1-1 if the situation calls for it. For nonemergency reports (animal complaints as well as a variety of other police matters), we strongly recommend using our Citizen Online Reporting System (CORS).

“Simply visit www.auburnpd.comand click ‘file a police report’ under the ‘quick links’ section. CORS is a wonderful tool for citizens to connect with the Auburn PD. Using CORS, they can give anonymous crime tips, and file police reports of harassment, identity theft, suspicious activity, traffic complaints, request vacant house checks, and much more. “

“Another option is to call the Lewiston-Auburn nonemergency line at 784-7331, option 1 and ask for animal control officer Wendell Strout.”

Sun Spots also finds animal abuse appalling. In her younger, more impulsive days, she admits to secretly removing pets from bad situations. It probably didn’t do any good. The perpetrator probably just trotted down to the shelter and got another victim.

There are times when people, including Sun Spots, just don’t know everything they should about animal care and education could be helpful in making the animal’s life better. Sometimes people just don’t seem to empathize with the pet’s needs and need to have it explained.

When Sun Spots was growing up on a farm, for a while her father was managing a barn where some horses were stabled. He didn’t take care of them; he just oversaw the barn.

He noticed one horse never had any food in its stall, but he saw the girl who owned it every day, watering and otherwise caring for it. When he inquired, the girl said she’d run out of hay. She didn’t seem to understand that eating every day was as much a necessity for the horse as it was for her.

Of course, he straightened her out on that! He then found some old hay around to give the horse a bite to eat until she could rectify the situation.

Obviously this is vastly different from active abuse, such as the beatings No Name noted. In this instance, Sun Spots recommends that your acquaintance keep track of what he sees and write it down, noting the dates and times. And keep calling. The squeaky wheel does get the grease. Or in this case, saves the dog.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I live on Hilltop Avenue in Lewiston, and our neighborhood is being visited by a cat that may be someone’s pet that is missing. It is not familiar to any of my neighbors.

This cat is gray-striped with white hind legs. It is a full-grown cat with a loud meow. It appears almost daily about midway up the street, which is a dead-end street. If this cat is yours, and it is missing, you may very well find it here on Hilltop. — Concerned Person via email

ANSWER: Sun Spots is sorry to say that the cat was probably abandoned. But you could call the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society and see if anyone has called looking for such a cat. If not, you can ask them about taking it to their shelter to find it a good forever home.

DEAR SUN SPOTS – I work for a large employer in Lewiston, and we are looking for an ice cream truck to attend an outside summer fest event that we are holding on Friday, July 11, from approximately 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Lewiston. Employees would be able to purchase items directly from your truck.

If you have and/or drive an ice cream truck and would be interested in attending our event, please email me your contact information and I will be able to provide you with more details. Thank you! — Lisa Davis, Lewiston, [email protected]

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected]

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