If you're reading this article, we're guessing you're an animal lover just like us! You might have a preference for dogs or cats or rodents or fish, but whichever animal, you respect life and would go the whole nine yards to prevent animal cruelty!
The relationship between animal and human
There is something unique about the beautiful relationships that we have with animals: a shared bond, unseen chemistry, trust, and above all, respect.
We don't need to fully understand one another in order to love each other. Our pets are innocent and loyal - they love unconditionally, and sometimes even tolerate pain for their pet parent. Pets don't care about your career, race, background or the like. They love us despite, for who we are.
There are, however, heartless humans who are capable of abusing animals despite this magical relationship; despite these animals being other living, feeling creatures.
Animal abuse is prevalent throughout the world, to the horror of animal lovers, foundations and those who simply respect the environment. No matter the extent, any mistreatment of an animal that causes gratuitous, unwarranted or unjustifiable suffering, harm or death is classed as animal cruelty.
Therefore, it is up to us to make a change. It necessary to act and know what to do when faced with abuse. Whether wild or domestic, our earthly neighbours can't talk and they need our help to escape such horrific circumstances.
Helping to prevent animal abuse
It is a distressing thought, but most cases of abuse do not happen in public. Therefore, it is necessary to be aware of symptoms to be sure of the cruelty taking place.
If you know any pets who are victims of abuse, the recommended first step is to report it. However, it's not always as straight forward as it may seem. To help, here's four key steps to take with as little risk to you as possible.
1. Know the signs of abuse and negligence
Some signs of abuse are very evident. A pet that has been beaten, for example, will usually be easy to spot. Unfortunately, many cases of mistreatment stem from negligence, which is harder and more complicated to spot.
Some common signs of pet negligence include: being abandoned for long periods of time without care; thin and bony appearance; no access to food, water or shelter; or unsanitary shelter conditions where urine or fecal matter remains.
Terrorising animals is also a form of abuse, as is not taking a pet to the vet when they are injured or ill. Veterinary care is expensive, but there are options available to help ease the financial load.
2. Inform the police
If you are a witness of animal abuse, the best solution is to inform the police. If you can get photo or video evidence then this will prove invaluable. However, avoid involving yourself in the situation as this could put you in a challenging position with the owner and you could be injured by the animal who may suffer from behavioural issues.
3. Contact a nearby shelter or the RSPCA
Your local shelter or branch of the RSPCA will be able to help you to find the correct organisation to contact if you suspect or know of animal abuse. Remember to give as much information as possible to the organisation. You might even want to contact a vet if you are able to get the animal immediate care. From the first signs of mistreatment, it is important to act quickly; you could save the life of an innocent animal.
4. Collect information
When you contact the RSPCA or the police, they will want to know as much from you as possible. This includes any notes taken, photos, or video material that will help police in their case. For abuse observed over a period of time, record dates on any notes taken, including any times you have called the authorities. If you can, gather other witnesses such as friends who were with you, or neighbours. Collated material will help catch the culprits!
It might seem obvious to say, but it is important keep yourself out of harm's way when collecting any information. Be as discreet as possible and ensure you don't trespass on private property - this may work against you. It is important not to break the law or your evidence may hold not hold up in court.
Fighting against animal abuse is not something that can be accomplished in the blink of an eye. It takes time and commitment, but you don't have to do it alone. There are many organisations and associations that are dedicated to fighting animal abuse and that can help you gather the necessary information. Don't be afraid to contact them. Together, we can fight to protect our beautiful fur friends.
Have you ever been witness to animal abuse?