What the devil is wrong with folks these days and some teens as well? How did such cruelty creep into their hearts? Do they think it will make them feel superior or powerful to kill an innocent living creature such as a dog or cat? How can we stop this cruelty and abuse if not here and now …
Let me give you some statistics to give you a feel for how bad things have become. As a resident of St. Petersburg, Florida I wanted to know how bad things are in and around the City. There are 125 cruelty cases within 20 miles of St. Petersburg. Sobering findings aren’t they.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
~~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Animal cruelty covers a wide range of actions (or lack of action), so one blanket answer isn’t possible. Each type of abuse has displayed certain patterns of behavior that we can use to help understand more about why people omit the crimes we encounter today.
Animal cruelty is most often broken down into two main categories: active and passive, also referred to as commission and omission respectively.
Passive cruelty (or Acts of Omission) is typified by cases of neglect where the crime is a lack of action rather than the action itself. However, do not let the terminology fool you. Severe animal neglect can cause incredible pain and suffering to an animal.
Examples of neglect could be and include starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention.
In case of neglect where an investigator feels that the cruelty occurred as a result of ignorance, they may attempt to educate the pet owner and then revisit the situation for improvements. In more severe cases, the animal is removed from the site immediately and taken in for urgent medical care.
Active cruelty implies malicious intent, where a person has deliberately and intentionally caused harm to an animal. These are some of the most isturbing and should be considered signs of serious psychological problems. This type of behavior is often associated with sociopathic behavior and should be taken very seriously.
I’ve learned that animal abuse in violent homes can take many forms and can occur for many reasons. Many times a parent or domestic partner who is abusive may kill, or threaten to kill, the household pets to intimidate family members into sexual abuse, to remain silent about previous or current abuse, or simply to psychologically torture the victims thereby flexing their power.
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Unfortunately there is no quick fix for animal abuse but there are so many things we can all do to help. None of them will make animal abuse disappear tomorrow, but every little bit helps lower the risk further down the road. And you don’t have to be an “animal fanatic” to do it. You don’t have to be a member of every animal rights organization on earth. There are so many things “regular people” can do to have an impact.
Certainly take care of the animals you have and encourage others to do the same. Most people’s hearts are in the right place, they simply don’t know all the facts usually. So the first part is to get involved enough to educate yourself. Then you can begin educating other people!
If you can afford even a small amount, make a donation to the ASPCA, or your local shelter rescue groups (I personally fostered and adopted from Heidi’s Legacy Rescue – I trust them and know of their integrity. Just do some research if you don’t know any legitimate groups. Ask around to your friends – you’d be surprised how many people know of trustworthy shelters, no kill shelters and rescue groups who are in need.
Not all of us have a lot of time or money at our disposal, but many people don’t realize how little it takes. Rescue shelters are always eager for any help you can give them and most of them are tremendously appreciative if you can come in just a few hours weekly to “play” with the animals!
And perhaps most importantly, be creative! If you have a little extra time, help the rescue shelters organize car washes, bake sales, whatever else you can think of to help them raise funding for the work they do. With a group of people working on it, it doesn’t need to consume your life. Sometimes all they need is someone to think of the idea!
You don’t have to be a cop, a lawyer or a judge to fight animal cruelty. You just need to speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves.