How to protect pets from animal cruelty
Facing The Pain of Animal Neglect and Cruelty
Who would have thought that writing a pet column could get discouraging. After all, pets are fun to have around, greatly enhance our quality of life, and in many cases provide valuable services that technology can't yet provide.
But, alas, the world of pets is not all rainbows, snowflakes and butterflies. I'm reminded, on a near daily basis, of the extreme cruelty towards pet animals that occurs in the United States.
I frequently report on legislation, either pending, adopted or defeated, affecting animals, and I also report on legal action involving cruelty cases.
Reporting on the bad news tends to underscore the contemporary wisdom regarding the husbandry of pet animals. That would be the notion that dogs and cats be kept indoors, or securely contained in the yard, and never be left alone in a parked car.
Most professionals, such as veterinarians, breeders, trainers, behaviorists, and animal welfare organizations, agree that dogs and cats are at serious risk when they're allowed to roam free. In most communities free-roaming dogs are in violation of leash laws, besides.
Also by Bob Bamberg
- A Look At Animal Rights Legislation
Increasingly, jurisdictions are considering animals rights legislation, but many of the proposals seem to be rooted more in emotion than reason. While favorable, in principle, the unintended consequences must be thoroughly explored.
- How To Report Tainted Pet Foods & Treats
If you think your pet's health was compromised by tainted food or treats, there's a right way to report such matters, and this article tells you how to do it.
- Dropping A Dime On Animal Cruelty
When we think an animal is being neglected it creates a dilemma. Do we speak to the owner, call the authorities, and which authority do we call? Also, everything may not be what it appears to be. Here's a lesson in objectivity.
The risks posed go far beyond those presented by vehicular traffic. Feral and wild animals can kill or inflict injuries to domestic animals that engage them in play or combat, and they can spread disease and parasites as well.
Cats and small dogs are subject to predation by hawks, owls and coyotes. I'm reminded of the guy a few years ago who told me how he watched one of his cats get scooped up, right in front of his shed, by a great horned owl.
At an altitude of about forty feet, either the cat squirmed free or the owl just lost its grip, but the cat plummeted to earth, surviving the fall but smashing its pelvis and suffering serious head and internal injuries. Sadly the cat had to be euthanized. The owl was stalking the property each evening at dusk for several days after that, hunting for cat.
Another risk is from those who would kidnap the animal in order to possess it for themselves. Take the case of a woman from a nearby town. She had let her dog out for a nature call and he seized the opportunity to explore the neighborhood for a few minutes, as he routinely did. She recalls hearing a car door slam and the car driving away, but thought nothing of it. However, her dog never returned.
And then there are the malevolent creeps who will commit acts of unspeakable cruelty against trusting pets. I remember the case of authorities looking for the person responsible for setting a five-month-old, female German shephard/shar pei-mix puppy on fire in South Philadelphia.
Or the case, in Glassport, PA, in which someone set fire to a male cat. His feet were badly burned and his whiskers were burned off. Another sad cruelty case involved the shooting death of a male Labrador mix in Serene Lakes, CA. A detective investigating the case said that the dog was fatally wounded by a pellet gun using a 77-caliber pellet.
Halloween can be a time when people so inclined will harm pets, rationalized as part of the mischief that “trick or treat” can spawn. When I was a young child back in the 50’s, there were whispers that a neighborhood bully tied two cats together by their tales and draped them over a clothesline, delighting in the combat that resulted. I don’t think anything ever happened to him, either.
From mid-October til Halloween, many shelters will decline to adopt out black cats because there are reports of certain cults engaging in rituals that require the sacrificing of black cats. And the warning always goes out to owners of black cats to keep them safely indoors until after Halloween.
In today’s complex and worrisome world, pets provide a level of peace and comfort for many of us. It’s too bad that we have to worry about simply letting them out of the house for a little while.
While I often expose myself to too much gut-wrenching news, I’m also frequently rewarded with stories of incredible kindness by individuals who rescue animals from heartbreaking circumstances, and about folks who donate considerable time and skills in volunteer service to needy animals. They're the people who know a thing or two about how it sometimes hurts to be an animal lover.
I’ve met many such remarkable people right here in the HubPages community. “Animal people” are special and caring individuals who are just nice to be around. We don’t often consider how much they enrich the lives of others, but after 20 years in the independent retail pet supply business, I’m aware of how much they’ve enriched mine.
Protect your pets. Unfortunately, they need it.