“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” – Edmund Burke
There is no better feeling than coming home to your pets after a long day. No matter what, they welcome you with wagging tails and open hearts. They have spent their day waiting for the door to swing open and have you, their owner and dearest companion, home with them. They are full of unconditional love.
This gift of the human-animal bond is one that is not reached for every animal. In the United States alone, there are 6-8 million animals entering shelters each year. Around half of these animals will never experience the love of a forever home. Animal cruelty and neglect can be associated with homeless animals and those in shelters and rescues around the country. It is no secret trying to put a stop to animal cruelty can be a heartbreaking and crushing cycle. However, there are ways you, as a pet parent, can help animals in need. Regardless of your personal circumstances, you can take action and make a difference in an animal’s life.
It is natural to feel angry and upset when learning about the realities of animal cruelty and neglect. Education plays a vital role in taking action against these situations. By educating yourself on the laws and rules in your county, city, state, and/or country, you will have a better backbone in fighting against those who break said laws. Once you are educated, turn your anger and sadness into action. Do not remain neutral in situations of injustice. Take a stance and be the change.
The most important education you can provide for yourself is how to recognize animal cruelty and neglect. This may not always mean obvious signs of physical wounds on an animal. Examples of animal abuse and neglect can be seen in chained dogs, animals outside without shelter in extreme temperatures, abandoned animals living in empty homes, obvious and untreated wounds and physical suffering, emaciated animals without provided food or water, too many animals living on one property, and obvious violence against an animal(s).
Once educated, you can make a change by taking action. For example, animal shelters, rescue organizations, and animal rights and welfare groups are always in need of donations. These can vary from monetary donations that can be done via computer, to donating your time, efforts, and energy.
Fundraising events, enrichment activities at your local shelter, and educating and raising awareness to the public on animal cruelty and neglect is just as important as donating money. You can contact your local shelter and ask what they are in need of. Most shelters could always use more supplies to better their facilities and make the animals more comfortable. Donating extra linens, dog food, toys, cleaning materials, and bedding can be incredibly beneficial. Nothing is too small.
Becoming a shelter volunteer can also be a wonderful way to help animals in need. In rescuing, animals are sometimes found terribly neglected or having suffered some kind of physical or mental abuse. When they come into shelters they can associate humans with negativity and harm. They are unaware of the love people can give to animals and how to handle kindness. By volunteering at a shelter and providing enrichment to these animals, you can mean the difference between life and death. Some shelters will euthanize animals after a certain period of time or if they are deemed unable to be adopted. By helping these fearful animals and showing them life outside of a shelter, they will become more social and easier to be adopted, therefore finding a home and opening up space for another animal. Fostering is another way to donate your time and efforts, and help an abused animal heal their physical, emotional, and mental wounds.
However, busy work and life schedules often make it difficult to volunteer your time at a shelter. There are other ways to help fight animal cruelty within your lifestyle. Larger scale organizations such as the ASPCA and Humane Society of the United States make it easy for people to help. For example, if you are informed of or notice animal cruelty going on around you, report it. The ASPCA and Humane Society have tips on how to report animal cruelty in your area. If you are able to document abuse with a photograph or written statement, that will make for a stronger case. Be sure to follow up and keep detailed records when reporting an abuse case to the police or welfare organization.
There are also ways you can take the initiative and use social media such as Facebook or Twitter to fundraise, share information, and spread the world of possible cruelty cases. Social media is an amazing tool in raising awareness and educating the public at the press of a button. This is a great way to be proactive against animal cruelty while still going about your daily life.
Lastly, there are wonderful organizations out there working globally to stop animal cruelty. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) works tirelessly with multiple countries to ensure the proper treatment of animals. By supporting the WSPA, you can work together to raise awareness about animal welfare, and prevent the misuse of animals everywhere.
All in all, no matter big or small, local or global, any action against animal cruelty, mistreatment, and neglect is going to make a difference. By not sitting back and letting it happen, you are putting a dent in this constant battle for justice. You are giving a voice to the voiceless. If everyone does a part in this fight, we will work together to save the lives of animals around the world. Be the change.
Information about the following organizations can be found below:
ASPCA – http://www.aspca.org/
Humane Society of the United States – http://www.humanesociety.org/
World Society for the Protection of Animals – http://www.wspa.ca/