Animal Abuse – Learn, Report and Fight

April 5, 2011, by Lauren

dachshund-cop

April is Prevent Animal Cruelty Month. What can you do to help?

Animal abuse, neglect and mistreatment is just not necessary. Did you know that many people are unaware that abuse and neglect happens? Many people turn a blind eye and just ignore it thinking there is nothing they can do to help. Well there is!

You can:

Learn, Report and Fight!

Learn: How to recognize animal cruelty. You see an animal that acts very timid or fearful or even unusually aggressive. You think, this is not ‘normal’ behavior, perhaps this animal is being abused? You may be right, but animals act timid and fearful for other reasons as well. This is a decision that is left up to the professionals and the authorities.

Did you know that an animal is abused or beaten every 10 seconds?

Abuse is often recognizable in physical and environmental signs. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) lists the following as possible physical and environmental signs of abuse, neglect or mistreatment.

Physical Signs

* Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck
* Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated
* Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
* Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
* Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
* Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
* Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
* Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
* Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
* An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
* Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental Signs

* Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
* Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
* Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
* Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements possibly with too many other animals

Report: Why is it important to report abuse? Did you know that without phone calls from concerned citizens most cases of abuse would continue, leaving poor animals silent and unable to defend themselves?

Call your local law enforcement or animal control. You can remain anonymous. Remember, an anonymous call is better than no call at all. But please consider giving your contact information as a credible witness may be necessary. Reporting abuse or neglect does not necessarily mean the animal will be taken away. That will be determined by the authorities. Sometimes it is simply a matter of educating the owner or providing them with the resources to enable them to provide proper medical care or training.

Fight: Why is this third word important in preventing animal abuse?  Fighting doesn’t mean you have to march on Washington and become a full time activist. If you choose to do so, of course that’s fine. But the average citizen can help prevent animal cruelty by fighting. This means bringing awareness of animal abuse out in the open, following up on an abuse you reported, teaching children what animal abuse and neglect is and why it is bad. Donate, volunteer and vote for better laws against abusers.

Please, be the voice of those that cannot speak for themselves!