|Please treat all animals humanely!|
By now, most of us have heard about the story of Patrick, the miracle dog, who was starved to near death and then tossed out with the trash; the story of a so-called animal “activist” who was caught on film beating a dog with a club for allegedly digging holes and also dragged the poor dog around by a paw; the cat who was set on fire while alive; the 100 sled dogs who were “culled,”allegedly due to financial difficulties; the ex-race horses who were being starved due to financial setbacks; the K-9 police dog who was brutally stabbed in the line of duty, and the sad stories just continue on and on, each one more heartbreaking than the other. But what can we do about it? How can we initiate global change?
While we can’t all help every pet in need, what we all can do—as caring human beings—is be aware. If you see an animal in a dangerous situation or being abused, report it. Tell someone. If you can’t speak to the person inflicting the abuse, then report it to someone in an authoritative position who can help both the animal in distress as well as the owner: An animal control officer. A rescue agency. The local humane society. A policeman. A town councilperson. A reporter. A clergy member. Someone. Turning a blind eye because we don’t know what to do will never help these animals or the people who betray them. And abuse come in many shapes and forms—from the obviously starved animals to the visibly sick or injured ones to ones who receive no human interaction or attention.
Not to make any excuses, because in my opinion there is absolutely no excuse that warrants being cruel, but I will acknowledge that sometimes folks may find themselves in over their head and don’t know what to do or who to turn to for help and then react from that stress. They must be made aware that they are not alone. There are always people willing to help better the welfare of animals. I believe awareness is half the solution. If people who own pets find themselves in a bind, they need to know that there options. Starving, neglecting, abandoning, beating, and killing the animals are not options. If someone can no longer afford to feed, shelter, or care for their pet, sometimes just knowing where to turn or who to turn to is help in itself.
So how do we help spread the word to help prevent animal cruelty? Education is key, and we can all be the educators and animal advocates. Check with your local vet offices, community bulletin boards, even the media to see if you can post a notice listing places and phone numbers folks can call for help, including various rescue groups, the local animal control office, local publications and radio stations, and even online resources for re-homing pets. If you have a social media account such as a blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc., post links and information there. The more we can all get the word out that there are people and places to help those who feel they have hit a dead end, the better it will be for the animals they can no longer care for.