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Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month: Ways You Can Help

Posted by Evelyn Pryor on

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month: Ways You Can Help

Did you know that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month at the ASPCA?

Every year, the ASPCA calls on members and concerned citizens to help raise awareness about issues and abuses that animals face.

Are you looking to help keep animals safe? The best place to start is education. Here are a few ways that you can help fight animal cruelty, this month and every month of the year.

Recognize the Signs of Animal Cruelty

First, you should know how to recognize the signs of animal abuse and neglect.

Animal abuse and neglect can take many forms. Maybe it’s a teenager acting out. Maybe it’s a hoarder who has too many animals to properly manage their care. Maybe it’s someone who keeps putting off taking an animal to the vet, causing the animal pain and suffering.

But the most common scenario is domestic violence, which is strongly correlated with animal abuse. One survey found that women in domestic violence shelters were 11 times more likely to report incidents of animal abuse than women who were not. And pet abuse is one of the four major indicators of future intimate partner violence.

This is why it’s vital for you to act if you see the signs of animal neglect and abuse.

Some common signs of animal neglect include:

  • Lack of sufficient shelter
  • Unsafe living conditions, such as filth or dangerous objects left where an animal can reach them
  • A collar that’s too small or hasn’t been replaced as an animal grows, causing sores and other issues
  • Lack of grooming
  • Signs of untreated diseases
  • Starvation

Unlike people, animals cannot tell someone when they’re being hurt. At least, not in words. Here are a few common signs of animal abuse:

  • Open wounds
  • Multiple scars
  • Walking with a limp or difficulty walking
  • Hiding
  • Flinching or running away when people approach
  • Walking with their head and tail down

Keep in mind, though, that some behavioral signs can occur for other reasons, so it’s important to get a full picture of the situation alongside behavioral red flags.

Where You Can Report Animal Abuse

If you do see signs of animal abuse or neglect, it’s vital to report them as soon as you can.

The best course of action is to call your local animal welfare agency immediately. This could be the local animal control, a local animal shelter, or a humane organization. It may also be wise to call a vet or local veterinary organization.

If you’re not sure whether you have any of these in your area or you’re not sure how to contact them, you can also call the non-emergency number of the local police and ask where you should call.

Humane officers try to respond quickly to complaints, but they get a lot of calls every day and may not be able to respond immediately. If you’re concerned for the animal’s immediate safety, make sure to tell the officer or call-taker so that they know to prioritize your call.

You should NOT try to rescue a pet from a neglectful or abusive situation on your own. Not only is it illegal, it’s unsafe. You don’t know whether the owner may try to hurt you or others in retaliation for trying to take the animal.

It also doesn’t fix the issue, as you haven’t prevented the owner from getting another animal. When a human organization or animal welfare organization visits and removes the pet, charges may be brought against the owner (depending on the case).

Be More Kind and Fight Cruelty to Animals

No animal deserves to feel afraid of their owner, nor does any animal deserve to be sick, injured, and neglected at the hands of someone who was supposed to care for them.

If you see signs of cruelty to animals, those animals need your help to get out of a bad situation. Don’t be afraid to speak out on their behalf.




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