For countless animal lovers, April is no different from any other month. However, April is the ASPCA’s official Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. During this month, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals increases its efforts to raise awareness regarding animal cruelty, educate people to recognize the signs of cruelty, and spread information about how to stop animal abuse.
This month, get involved and show your support for this great cause by standing up for those animals who need it most. If you are unsure what you can do to help, read on!
If you suspect animal abuse is taking place, look for the following warning signs:
- Pet/animal hoarding
- Serious, unexplained injuries on a pet
- An overly fearful pet
- A collar that remains too tight
- Lack of food and water
- A pet left for prolonged periods without shelter
- Dogfighting or training for fights
- Animals kept in small cages
You should report suspected animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect to your local law enforcement.
Sadly, many dogs and cats are surrendered to shelters for many various reasons. Sometimes the owners are moving and cannot take the pet with them, or sometimes they may end up in shelters due to the death of their owners. Regardless of the reason, this happens frequently to many cats and dogs.
Some shelters lack the actual physical space to house all animals on-site. Often, shelters and rescue organizations rely on a foster network to be able to take in more needy animals. Foster homes also help these animals to recover, so they are socialized and ready to move into their forever homes.
You can spearhead an event to help people understand how to better care for their pets. Some examples include:
- Schedule a speaker from your local humane society
- Get pet care and training pamphlets from your local shelter or humane society and give them out to any of your coworkers or friends with new pets
- Contribute to or volunteer at your local animal shelter. Better yet, bring a friend with you!
- Organize a lecture series at your office, with speakers from a humane organization, on pet care, behavior solutions, and animal welfare issues.
It’s important to teach children to treat animals respectfully. Show them the appropriate way to approach a dog and cat and raise them to know that all living creatures have feelings.
As an adult and pet parent, it is also important to set a good example by being respectful towards all animals. Be sure to show children how to treat animals with love and consideration and help them to grow up to become the next generation of animal advocates.
If you are considering adding a new furry companion to your family, adopt from a rescue or shelter rather than buying from a breeder or store. While puppies in pet store windows may look adorable and shopkeepers may say they come from “reputable breeders,” they often come from puppy mills.
If you witness animal cruelty, abuse, or neglect, do not ignore it. Do what you can to stop someone from mistreating an animal. Do not put yourself in harm’s way—document what you see and report it to the police or other local authorities. Be sure to act as soon as possible to prevent continued cruelty to other animals.