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Animal Cruelty Prevention

According to the ASPCA an animal is abused every 60 seconds. The Humane Society of the United States reports that most cases of animal abuse go undetected. Animal cruelty takes many forms, from neglecting to provide clean water, food and veterinary care to severe beatings and other physical attacks. It is hard to believe that animal abuse is still a serious problem in modern society. It is horrible to think about, but the results of ignoring animal cruelty are even more devastating.

Animal cruelty is often committed by a person who feels powerless, unnoticed or under the control of others. The motive may be to shock, threaten, intimidate or offend others or to demonstrate rejection of society’s rules. Some who are cruel to animals copy acts they have seen or that have been done to them. Others see harming an animal as a safe way to get revenge against someone who cares about that animal which is why animals are protected in restraining orders.

Preventing animal cruelty is in the best interests of a community, as well as, important for public health. Studies have shown that cruelty to animals is a sign that other abuse is taking place in the home. Animal abuse is clearly linked to other violent crimes, such as domestic violence, assault and sex crimes. Those same studies show that children who witness animal abuse are at a greater risk of becoming animal abusers themselves.

We can break this cycle through education and prevention. The best way to fight cruelty is to teach as many people as possible about how their pets should be treated and what they should never ever do. Parents and educators should teach children how to safely and humanely interact with animals at an early age, as well as, how they can tell if an animal is being harmed and what to do about it.

Animal cruelty includes intentional, malicious acts of harm and neglect. Unfortunately, unless you witness something happening, it’s not always clear when something constitutes neglect. Most people don’t go so far as to actually lay hands on their animals to hurt them but instead, they neglect the needs of their animals. Signs of neglect include injuries or illnesses that linger untreated, poor living conditions (including filth and dangerous objects near the animal and it being left outside in bad weather), bones being visible through the skin, and extremely poor grooming.

So what do you do if you notice an animal that appears to be suffering from one or more of these issues? Call your local animal welfare agency immediately. In most areas, someone from the local animal control agency, humane organization, or animal shelter will be responsible for investigating and enforcing the local anti-cruelty laws, but if you don’t know who’s in charge in your city or town, you can always call the local police non-emergency number to find out who to report the cruelty to.

Kathryn Ketchum

Interim Animal Services Director

City of Dickinson

Posted by on 1 Apr 2022