Monday, March 31, 2014

April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month

The ASPCA sponsors Animal Cruelty Prevention Month and each year urges supporters across the country to support their efforts to fight animal cruelty. This post is dedicated to those efforts, and to animal lovers everywhere, who dedicate their time to saving animals and creating awareness of animal cruelty and dangers.

One of my favorite rescues is Cat House on the Kings where there are no cages - no jails punishing animals who've already endured the pain of feeling 'unloved and unwanted'.  
CHoTK?  What is that?  

For those who don't know the story, basically lady takes in a few strays... takes in a few more strays... and more... and more...  ... lady moves out of her own home (and into a mobile home) - gives 4200sqft house to the cats and takes in even MORE strays... lady ends up with 12 acres of land that become a CAT SANCTUARY & Haven!  (with staff to wait on their every needs)  Cats live happily every after...

video from Kim Barker on Vimeo

I think one of the reasons why CHoTK resonates with me so much, is because if I were ever to win the lottery... or come into a financial windfall, this is EXACTLY how I would spend it!  I wouldn't even think twice about it - there are so many good animals just left to die everyday... how could one not?

So what can you do to help?..
Most Importantly -  Report Animal Abuse!!
There are many more 'regular' people - people like you and I, that just 'live' in residential areas - than there are control officers.  You are more likely to witness or know of an animal being abused than an officer, waiting for a report of abuse, to come across their desk.

If you become aware of an animal being abused - please don't just walk away.  Please don't think that someone else will report it!  Most likely, that 'someone else' is thinking the same thing - telephone your local police, animal control or contact a local branch of the ASPCA in your area.

Abuse can be as obvious as fighting rings and wounded "pets".  To less obvious signs of abuse, like leaving an animal outside in the elements without shelter, food or water for extended periods of time. 

I still cry thinking of "Puppy Doe" which was not quite a year ago - this dog wasn't merely abused, but tortured and then tossed out like trash... so battered and broken, the most humane thing anyone could do for her, was to end her suffering by humanely euthanizing her.  
The photo to the left, is what Puppy Doe looked like when she was 'bought'... and on the right, how she was found 2 months later...    

Photo Credits: Boston Globe

Please report "petting zoos" and road side zoos that have injured or unhealthy looking animals.  Many of these roadside attractions are operating without licenses, without proper or adequate space for the animals in their care and too often, the animals within, are malnourished and have not had regular/routine veterinarian care.  (Farm Animals, such as goats, sheep, llamas, etc shouldn't be "dirty & matted looking" when well maintained and cared for regularly.  Cows, horses, donkeys etc.. should not have ribs showing & belly bloat - that is an indicator of either worms or starvation - or both!  Hooves should not be split, overgrown, curled or broken. Without exception, ALL animals should have an adequate and stable shelter from elements - rain, sun, wind, snow, etc and clean, fresh water available to them at all times.)

Photo Credits: Animal Rescue League of Boston

Also report instances where animal hoarding is suspected. While most hoarders genuinely love animals - sadly, and all too often, these animals overwhelm their care-takers.  The animals can become sick, are under nourished and can sometimes live in deplorable conditions.

Photo Credits: MSPCA-Angell

Now, that wasn't so bad... and didn't cost you a single penny!
So what else can you do?

Some more things, that don't cost a dime!
Blog, Post, Share on Facebook or any social networking that April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month.  Spread the word and get others involved in preventing Animal Cruelty.  Go ORANGE and show your solidarity in the cause!
- Volunteer -- Get to know the people at your local animal care center. Show that you care!  There are always dogs that need walking. Kennels, litter boxes and cages that need cleaning and animals just looking for some affection.   Even simply visiting with the animals in local shelters and providing socialization opportunities for them, can make them "more adoptable" so they can find their furrever home... who knows, you may even fall in LOVE.

Still want to do more?
- Animal organizations are ALWAYS open to donations.  Any dollar amount from a single to .. well, whatever you'd like to donate.  It's not cheap to properly care for and house animals that have been abandoned and abused.  Many animals come to shelters needing medical procedures to correct or undo injuries from abuse.  I've never heard of a single shelter saying.. "Oh. No, we don't need any donations - thanks anyway."  

While the list of reputable animal shelters is too numerous to post here, you can do a simple Google or Bing search for local shelters in your area - many reputable shelters will be a "501(c)" Non-Profit Organization - which means that YOUR DONATIONS go to the animals, their care and the staff - not into the director's pocket book.  501c also means that your donation is tax-deductible!

- DON'T BUY - Adopt.  There are thousands of homeless dogs, cats, birds, snakes, lizards, chickens, roosters, hamsters, ferrets, pigs, horses, goats... well you get the point..  at your local shelters.  Too many animals are born for profit - sadly if these animals are not sold, they can be 'abandoned' or worse.
Open your home and your heart to an animal who is waiting for a second chance at 'the good life'.  A shelter animal isn't a "bad" animal - not by a long shot. Don't judge - open your heart and listen.

Photo Credits: Cruelty Free International
Photo: Norman Reedus of "The Walking Dead"

- Buy Cruelty Free Products! and fight against animal testing.  Cruelty to animals isn't isolated to the mean guy down the street who kicks his dog because he's barking too much.  Many large companies cruelly use animals for testing of the products that most of you can find in your home right now.  
Did you know that over 100 million animals are burned, crippled, poisoned and abused in U.S. labs every year and that 92% of experimental drugs considered safe and effective in animals, fail in human clinical trials because they are too dangerous or don’t work?  Or that hygiene products like toothpaste and cosmetics like mascara are typically tested on rabbits and guinea pigs?   Yes, not 'lab rats' like you see in the movies - tested on the animals you'd find at the local pet store or might purchase for your child.  There has to be a better way!

So what else can you do? 
It's really up to you... you are only limited in the fight against Animal Cruelty by your own imagination! The only thing that I hope you DO NOT do, is  ...  nothing...