Animal lovers cannot understand how other humans are able to inflict pain on innocent animals just for entertainment or profitable ends – let alone how people can let animals suffer due to lack of knowledge. Many times we feel our hands are tight and there is little we can do to help animals in need, but know there is always something that can be done to help put and end to animal cruelty and abuse.
The American Human Association says there are four steps you can take to stop animal abuse.
Step 1: Evaluate the Situation
Make sure that before you conclude that an animal is being abused, you take a closer look at the animal and its environment at different times throughout the day. Look for the following animal abuse or neglect signs:
- Wrong collar size. Does the animal have a collar that is too tight for its neck size, or the collar size never gets adjusted as the animal grows?
- Lack of grooming. Is the animal extremely dirty, has matted or dull fur?
- Physical ailments. Does the pet suffer form skin infections and illnesses like mange, sores or loss of hair?
- Malnutrition. Does the pet seem to be emaciated? Is the dog being starved because it does not have access to food and water? Is the animal being fed improper food?
- Animal Abuse. Have you ever witnessed the animal being improperly treated, chocked, forced under water, kicked, hit, or have any body parts set on fire?
It is best that before you call police, you document any of the above animal abuse. If possible, take pictures or video from a safe distance, and have the evidence ready for authorities.
Step 2: Report Animal Abuse
Call your local human society, police department or animal control facility to report animal abuse. Let the officers know that you have evidence of the crime and let them be the ones to investigate the crime and to approach the abusers. Local authorities will decide how to best help the pet. If you feel the pet’s welfare is in immediate danger, tell authorities when you report the crime. Never try to rescue the pet from an abusive or neglectful situation yourself. This is illegal and your actions will not stop the abuser from getting another animal to abuse.
Step 3: Understand the Law
Research your local anti-cruelty laws to understand how these are defined by your city and state. The laws vary from state to state and many times, specific cities or counties within a state have different anti-cruelty laws. The penalties for animal abuse and neglect may vary depending on where you live. Understand that once you report the crime and an investigation is ongoing, the process can be lengthy. The involved officers might not be able to give you details of an ongoing investigation, but do make sure they know about the abuser and the abused animal.
Step 4: Help Prevent Animal Abuse
The key here is information. Educate yourself and others on how a pet should be treated. Many times new pet owners don’t know what it takes to provide their pets with appropriate care and unfortunately they might not know their actions and treatment fall under animal cruelty.
You can get involved in your community by organizing local events informing the public about humane treatment for all animals. You can also request pamphlets from your local humane society to distribute in your community, or research videos and guides that teach proper animal care and treatment.
Be knowledgeable on what your local government is doing to stop animal cruelty and support those programs.
For example, this summer the organization NoToDogMeat started a global campaign to end the suffering of million of cats and dogs that are tortured in the meat and fur trade industry in countries like Korea, China and Vietnam. Originally, there was only one petition requesting international governments to get involved, however this petition was only available for UK resident. An American petition has been created and now you can electronically sign it and ask President Obama to help end the illegal trade of dog meat.
Take action. Sign the U.S. NoToDogMeat petition today and help innocent animals across the world.