A Place for Pets & Animal Lovers
Neglect Comes In Many Forms
Here are steps you can take to help an Abused/Neglected Animal
1. EVALUATE The Situation
Many times what appears to be neglect is simply misinterpreted. However if you do discover that the animals does not have adequate shelter from the weather, or doesn't get fed every day and does have any water in its water bowl, then you can be assured this animal is being neglected and needs help.
Here are a few examples of neglect:
Size of the Collar -Not increasing the size of the collar as the dog or cat grows results in injury and ultimately death if not dealth with.
Mange -Mange caused by tiny parasites, forces pets to suffer from horrendous itching, loss of hair, and possibly sores caused by the scratching and biting of the pet to relieve the incessant irritation. It is easily treated with medicated bathes.
Grooming -Not grooming a dog or cat, especially long-haired ones, can lead to massive matting which causes terrible misery and sores.
Starvation -Starvation is not just caused by a lack of food, but by improper food, untreated disease, and parasites (like worms).
Animal abuse can make any person angry and may make you want to confront the abuser. But you must avoid tht impulse unless you are a very good friend and an informal chat may make that person realize what he or she has done wrong. What you can do is take photographs or video the incident which gives investigators very valuable evidence. If you are worried about retaliation against you from a neighbor, tell the humane officer that you wish to remain anonymous.
2. REPORT It
If you witness neglect or abuse, report it to your local humane officer. A humane officer can be anyone in your area who investigates animal cruelty, such as the humane society's investigator or your city's animal control officer.
The humane officer will visit the home and determine the action needed to alleviate the animal's suffering. Ususally neglect is caused by the owner not understanding their pet's needs, however, many neglect their pets because the simply don't care. When confronted by a humane officer, owners may decide to relinguish the animals rather than being bothered with properly caring for them.
If the pet is seriously unhealthy or abused, the humane officer may remove the animal to protect care while he or she investigates. You can help the officer by offering to alert him if the owner gets another pet. Or if charges are brought against the owner, you can testify or sign a complaint. And in the case of violent abuse, witnesses are rare, so you may be the only person who can testify about the incident.
Humane officers try to respond quickly to a complaint, but because the number of calls they receive daily, they cannot always leave the moment you call. If you are concerned about the per's immediate safety, TELL THEM!! Don't attempt to remove the pet from a potentially abusive environment yourself. Not only is this illegal, but you haven't stopped the owner from getting another pet to abuse or helped turn him into a caring, responsible owner.
3. UNDERSTAND The Law
In most states, the anti-cruelty laws are pretty vague. They may require adequate shelter, but not be specific about what "adequate" shelter is, so the definition is often left up to the district attorney who may know very little about animals.
The humane officer should be familiar with the local and state laws on animal cruelty. While you think the humane officer may be "moving slow", weak animal anti-cruelty laws can slow down and hamper investigations. Very few states give humane officers any more legal rights than you have. They too may be ordered off someone's property and charged with trespassing and can also be sued for libel and slander.
Fortunately, society has begun to recognize animal abuse as part of the cycle of violence and is calling for stronger penalties against abusers and more powerful enforcement capabilities. As a result, many states have added felony penalties to their anti-cruelty laws, and animal cruelty investigators are given peace officer status.
If you have any doubts call your local humane investigative officer or call the district attorney and find out how your state laws protect animals.
4. HELP Prevent It
The key to preventing neglect is education. Many owners aren't aware of how important affection is to a pet or even that a puppy can outgrow her collar.
You can help prevent cruel acts by informing others about what to do if they see sucjh an act or helping them to better understand how to train and care for thier pets. You can also help by:
Schedule a speaker from your local humane society agency to talk with your church, school, daycare, or scout group.
Set up a brown-bag lecture series at your office, conducted by a humane agency, and learn about pet care, basic behavior solutions, and animal welfare issues.
Get pet care and behavior pamphlets from your humane agency to distribute to any of your coworkers and friends with new pets.
Put together packets of treats and a pet-care book or video to give to friends who've just gotten a new pet. Include spay/neuter information, tags, and a vaccination record book. Obedience lessons make a great gift for a new puppy too!
Support any initiative to strengthen your state's anti-cruelty laws.
Write to your local newspaper and TV station whenever animal cruelty stories appear. Tell them you support strong penalties for these abusers.
Contribute to or volunteer at your local shelter, where they must deal with these appalling situations regularly.
Now when you see a neglected or abused animal
you can take action. Don't hesitate.
You could save a life
Information taken from brochures from the Human Society of the United States,
American Humane Society, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.