We’ve all seen those heart-wrenching ASPCA commercials that feature abused animals waiting for a second chance at life with a loving family. And while it’s hard to watch and think about, animal cruelty does exist and it happens every day. This week is animal cruelty violence awareness week.
What is Animal Cruelty?
Animal cruelty is defined differently in each state, but it is basically the mistreatment of animals, both domestic and wild. This abuse can come in many forms, including neglect and physical violence. Animal cruelty is usually easy to spot, but you may be confused about what you can do to stop it.
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How to Help Abused Animals
If you suspect animal cruelty or witness an act of animal cruelty, contact your local humane society officer and report what you saw. Include as many details as possible, and take pictures if you can do so safely. Many people become overwhelmed with emotion when they witness animal cruelty and want to “rescue” the animal themselves. But the sad fact is that many people who abuse animals will also abuse people, and interacting with these people by intervening can put your own safety at risk. That’s way authorities recommend you contact a professional with the information and allow those in a position of legal power to intervene. If you can’t contact your local humane officer, you can alternately call your local police department or sheriff.
Some people may tell you that you have the right to enter a property and remove an abuse or neglected animal if the abuse or neglect is evident. But doing so poses a safety issue for you and may be illegal in some areas. While common sense and decency dictates you have the right to step in to stop abuse, it’s best to obey the law and notify authorities. Just be sure to write down any identification information you can find, such as vehicle license plate numbers, make and model of the vehicle, address where the animal is located, and physical descriptions of the abuser and the animal. These details can be used by authorities to locate the animal quickly and can also be used in the prosecution of the abuser.
Other Ways to Help Abused Animals
If you’d like to do more to help abused animals, share information on what to do if you suspect animal abuse and spread awareness of the issue. Even sharing information on social media sites can help increase public awareness and can save an abused animal’s life.
You can also donate to no-kill shelters and rescue organizations who work to help rehabilitate abused animals and place them with loving families. The ASPCA also regularly runs special fundraisers to garner funds used to benefit abused animals.
If you don’t have room in your budget to donate money, consider donating your time to help care for these abused and neglected animals. Call your local human society and ask what you need to do to volunteer. Many societies offer free classes to train volunteers to work with special needs animals who have been abused.