April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. What does that mean to those of us who lovingly care for every aspect of our pet's health and happiness? It means that this month we remind ourselves of our responsibility to help those pets and farm animals who are not cared for properly. This month the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) gives us a refresher course in identifying cruelty and ways to report it to the proper authorities.
ASPCA, which has lots of experience identifying signs of animal cruelty, suggests that any of the following signs may be suspicious:
- Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a
veterinarian, can lead to an animal's death.
- Wounds on the body.
- Patches of missing hair.
- Extremely thin, starving animals.
- An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
- Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up
in a yard.
- Dogs who have been hit by cars-or are showing any of the signs listed
above-and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
- Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
- Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their
You can report anonymously!
All of us have probably seen instances of one or all of these acts of cruelty, but have we called the appropriate authorities to report it? Perhaps because we are fearful of owner reprisal, we don't. But you should know that you can report what you have witnessed totally anonymously. Just report it.
- Learn the appropriate agency in your community that investigate reports of animal cruelty.
- Look out for the animals in your neighborhood and dog parks.
- Report instances. Make the call. Protection of innocent animals begins with you.
- Also, call the police. Animal cruelty is against the law.
- Become an advocate through the ASPCA or through other animal welfare organizations.
- Teach your children and their friends how to approach and treat animals.
- Adopt an abused animal if you can. Give the animal a new chance for a good life.
We have all witnessed instances of animal abuse and the images of those animals will never leave us. We will always feel the guilt of not having reported them. Don't let the opportunity to save any animal from abuse go by again.
The ASPCA has a wealth of information on the topic of animal abuse. Please visit the site to get many answers to specific questions you may have.