Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reporting Animal Abuse Is Always Correct

DEAR HARRIETTE: I live near a farm and find the state that those animals are in despicable. This is a petting zoo that gives tours to families, and the animals are kept in cramped cages and can barely move. I think this is animal abuse and believe this farm should be shut down. Should I call the police to report this neighborhood farm? I don't think children should be taught about nature like this. -- Animal Abuse, Norfolk, Virginia

DEAR ANIMAL ABUSE: By all means, you should report this petting zoo to the local authorities. You can let the police know. In addition, reach out to your local animal control agency, the local SPCA and the Humane Society. Gather as much information as you can so that you can provide a clear picture of what the neglect is. If possible, take pictures of the animals in their cages. Secure names of the management and any staff you see on site. The more proof you can gather of the abuse, the better equipped the law enforcement will be. When you file your complaint, be sure to get contact information for whoever helps you so that you can follow up.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My manager at work has just requested to add me on social media accounts. My accounts are private, and I use these for communication with friends. My manager has asked me why I haven't accepted her, and I lied and said I hadn't seen the requests. Should I bite the bullet and allow her to follow me? I don't enjoy curbing myself on social media. -- New Eyes, Syracuse, New York

DEAR NEW EYES: Check your employee manual to see if there are written guidelines for opening up your social media to your boss. Some businesses require staff to allow them to see their various social media outlets.

If there is nothing requiring you to share with your manager, you may want to kindly say that you don't like to mix business with your personal life, so you would rather not connect with her on social media.

Just know that whatever you put out there, whether the account is private or not, is public information. You should not write, photograph or post anything that would be in conflict with the values of your business. Believe it or not, such an act could easily cost you your job. For example, teachers have been fired for sharing vacation photos where they held alcoholic beverages in their hands. Magazine editors have been fired for posting racially charged content that disparaged their audience. Job applicants have been passed over because of rants on social media. In today's world, nothing is truly private. This doesn't mean that you have to be friends with your boss online. It does mean that you should expect that she will see what you post, even if you do not show it to her.

(Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)