Animal cruelty can be either deliberate abuse or neglect. Neglect, failure to take care of an animal, is not giving an animal the right food, water, shelter or vet care. Because their misery goes on for so long, animals who die of neglect can suffer just as much as animals who are harmed on purpose. Either way, and whether the animal is a pet, a farm animal, or wildlife, the victim can suffer terribly.
Why are people cruel to animals?Sometimes it is simply that people do not understand that what they are doing to an animal is causing the animal pain. Other times, people who have been abused themselves will be cruel to animals because they think that is the only way to treat others.
The worst cruelty situations are when people hurt animals knowing that it hurts the animal, and they do it to cause the animal pain. It is hard to say why someone would do this, but often they see the animals as objects instead of creatures with feelings.
State Animal Cruelty LawsAnti-cruelty laws exist in all U.S. states and territories to prohibit unnecessary killing, mutilating, torturing, beating, neglecting and abandoning animals, or depriving them of proper food, water or shelter. Animal cruelty cases are usually investigated by an animal control agency or by police or sheriff’s departments. When an investigation uncovers enough evidence to warrant prosecution, charges may be filed by the local district or state’s attorney. Often, only the most serious cases generate sufficient sympathy and evidence to warrant prosecution, and gaining convictions may be very difficult.
What should you do about it?Animal cruelty is a serious problem. If you see an animal being hurt, remember that you can help speak up for that animal. Depending on the situation, there are different ways you can help but keep these rules in mind:
1. Don’t touch. Never try to stop a person hurting an animal by yourself or try to help an animal who is hurt. Even though both situations can be upsetting, they can put you in a dangerous situation.
2. Call for help: If you witness animal abuse, call 911 because it is an emergency. If you notice an animal not being cared for properly, your parent or guardian should call animal control.
Why should You report animal abuse?People who abuse animals are more likely to hurt other people. This is why it’s so important to report animal abuse. Not only will you help the animal, but you will help your community be a safer place for everyone.
What can You do?1. Identify abuse, neglect and cruelty. Whenever you see an animal, run through a mental checklist. Make sure the animal has food, water and shelter; has a clean pen or area; has no untreated injuries and looks relatively healthy overall. If the animal does not meet these criteria, investigate further.
2. Intervene if necessary. If you see a person actively beating or torturing an animal, call 911. Animal torture is illegal, so you have the right to call for help.
3. Talk to the animal's owner if you feel comfortable doing so, especially if the animal seems neglected. You might find out that the horse you thought was ill-treated has just been rescued off a feedlot, or the dog with the open wounds is receiving medical attention. You might also find that the people lack the resources to provide the best care to their animal, and need financial assistance.
4. Document abuse and neglect. Include dates, times and the nature of the problem, even if you just suspect abuse or neglect. Photographs and videotape are helpful, though not necessary.
5. Call your local animal control to report most forms of abuse and for neglect. You can find the phone number in the government listing of your phone book, or online. After you provide full details, ask for the animal control officer's name and ask what action will be taken.
6. Report animal torture or animal fighting, such as dog or cock fighting, to the police, as these are crimes. Call 911 if the fighting or torture is in progress.
7. Follow up with animal control, especially if you reported directly to them. Talk directly to the investigating officer, if possible. If you are not satisfied with the way he has handled the problem, explain why and request additional action.
About Tri-County Animal Rescue:
For more information, call 704.263.2444, send an email toTriCountyAnimalRescue@yahoo.com, visit us on the web at www.tcar.us or on FaceBook at Tri-County Animal Rescue. Donations can be sent to Tri-County Animal Rescue, PO Box 483, Alexis, NC 28006