What can you do about animal abuse
If you suspect cruelty to a German Shepherd you should contact the ‘Helpline’. As a witness, you will need to be able to provide information about the situation, such as:
- WHAT is happening, i.e. a description of the incident(s) – this may include information about an animal’s physical condition and/or an act that was committed against the animal.
- WHO is committing the offense – name & description of the person or persons, as well as a description of their vehicle (if applicable) with a license plate number – as much information as you can gather.
- WHERE is the incident occurring – specific location, including address.
- WHEN did the incident occur – date & time.
The more detailed you can be in your description the more evidence we will have to pursue your report. If others have also witnessed a particular animal being abused or neglected, ask them to report the incident as well – corroborating evidence supports your case. Don’t wait until an animal’s life is in danger – if you suspect abuse, document it and report it.
If it turns out that a situation you feel is unhealthy for an animal does not fall within the legal definition of animal abuse, you may want to approach the owner and gently suggest different approaches to how they treat their pet. Many people were brought up with different ideas about pet ownership and/or may not understand a dog’s physical, mental and emotional needs. However, do not put yourself in a compromising situation; if they are not receptive to your input, it is a good idea to back off. You may continue to monitor the situation and report any additional developments.
As with any crime, documenting the details are essential to making the case and stopping the animal abuser. We will need to know details like date, time, and location of the alleged crime, as well as physical descriptions of all individuals (people and animals) involved.
Mobile phone photos and videos have proven excellent tools in cementing criminal cases against animal abusers.
Dog cruelty is often defined as inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on our dogs
Animal cruelty is when a person knowingly does not feed, water or supply shelter for their dog. Does not get it groomed (letting them get extremely matted). Tying them outside and not checking on them. Letting the collar or chain inbed in their neck. When a human literally beats their dog like a punching bag with or without a weapon. Letting their dog suffer with a medical condition.
How to recognize animal cruelty
Look for these common signs of neglect or intentional cruelty
- Wounds on the body.
- Severely overgrown nails (often curling under)
- Patches of missing hair.
- Extremely thin, starving animals with ribs or backbone protruding.
- Infected eyes that have been left untreated.
- Animals who are repeatedly left alone without food and water. Often they are chained up in a yard.
- Animals who have been hit by cars and have not received veterinary attention.
- Animals who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
- An owner kicking, hitting or physically abusing an animal.
- Animals who cower fearfully or act aggressively when their owners approach.
- Severe flea or tick infestations left untreated.
- Animals left in a car on a hot or cold day.
- Animals crammed into tiny cages in overcrowded conditions.
- Abandonment (often when pet owners move or by unprofitable breeders).
- Excessive scratching of the head area, shaking of the head and dirt or discharge in ears indicative of a possible ear infection.
- Chronic diarrhea or vomiting.
- Animals kept in dirty conditions including being forced to stand in their own urine and excrement.
- Swellings, such as tumors or abscesses, left untreated.
Using deception to mask abuse
Perpetrators of animal cruelty often portray themselves as kindly animal lovers, making it difficult for people to believe them capable of abuse. From the “friendly” neighbour who mistreats his pets behind closed doors, to the “respected” community member who operates a puppy mill there is no one identifying feature that marks a person as capable of committing such unfathomable crimes. Abuse of any animal is upsetting, not only for the pain and suffering inflicted on the animal, but for the fact that animal abuse is often a precursor to human-directed violence and an indicator of family crisis.
Untreated, any type of abuse can escalate. Fortunately, if people witness animal cruelty and neglect and report it, legal action can be taken.
By stopping animal cruelty you are doing the RIGHT thing. You may not just be saving that animal’s life, but others, including humans.
Animal Abuse, Training and “The Dark Triad”
For information leading to the arrest and conviction for illegal animal cruelty. Your information will be kept confidential.
“Never doubt that a small, group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead