A few months ago, a pet groomer in San Mateo, California made headlines when he arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after a dog died in his care. The dog was bleeding from the mouth and had difficulty breathing, and an x-ray of the dog revealed two broken ribs and a punctured lung.
Sadly, these stories are not uncommon. Most of us have probably seen footage from the ASPCA or another humane association showing neglected and malnourished dogs, cats, horses and other animals. It is tragic when humans take the pets they should love and care for and instead turn them into objects of abuse and neglect. And it’s important to note that animals aren’t the only ones affected by such abuse; studies have shown a correlation in troubled individuals between animal abuse and other kinds of criminal violence.
As a responsible citizen, it is your duty to say something to authorities if you have substantial grounds for suspicion of animal cruelty. But it may be harder than you think to tell the difference between a neglected pet and one that’s part of a loving family. The Humane Society of the United States lists these key signs of animal neglect to be on the lookout for:
- Does a pet owner have far more pets than they can properly care for?
- Does a pet exhibit untreated wounds or obvious signs of a lack of veterinary care?
- Does a pet have inadequate shelter during extreme heat or cold? (It is important to note that pets being kept outside does not necessarily imply cruelty. Many outdoor pets lead happy and healthy lives and are well-loved by their owners.)
- Is a dog chained outside continuously?
- Has a pet been left behind in a recently-abandoned home?
If you notice any of these signs or a combination of them, it is important to take action. In addition to calling 911, you can also contact a humane organization like the Humane Society of the United States or the ASPCA, which will be best equipped to deal with the situation. In most cases, an officer will be dispatched to investigate and file a citation if necessary. If the case is serious, you may be asked to testify in court.
Animal cruelty is best prevented by caring citizens who keep an eye out for their neighbors and their pets. Intervening to prevent animal cruelty not only benefits our furry, winged and scaly friends, but also helps their owners and society as a whole.
If an abandoned or neglected animal is placed in your care, bring it to CVA for a check-up. Our hospital in Valley Stream is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1 (888) 4CVA-PET (428-2738).