Thursday, April 14, 2011

In honor of ‘Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month’

Did you know it is ‘Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month’?  Not many people do, but I wanted to take a minute to reflect on what that awareness means and how I can contribute to the cause.
You have read the organization name ASPCA before, and you may already know they are a strong authority in the pet community, but who are they and what do they do exactly? ASPCA stands for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The ASPCA was the first humane organization in the western hemisphere.  They “work to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws, and share resources with shelters nationwide.”- ASPCA website.

Not so fun facts
According to, there were a reported 987 cases of animal abuse in the United States in 2010. Of 21 different abuse categories, California was listed in 15 categories; 4 of which California was listed in the top 6 highest number of cases and 8 of which California was listed in the top 2 highest number of cases.  These categories include: beating, burning- caustic substance, choking/strangulation/suffocation, fighting, hanging, hoarding, kicking/stomping, and mutilation/torture.

How can I help?
The ASPCA investigates animal abuse day in and day out, but they work mostly off of tips from the public.  In other words, it all starts with you educating yourself on what to look out for.  Courtesy of the ASPCA and our own local animal services, here is a list of signs and symptoms of animal abuse that you should look for in your neighborhood:

·         Tick or flea infestations (conditions left untreated can lead to death)
·         Wounds on the body
·         Patches of missing fur
·         Extremely thin, starving animals
·         Limping
·         An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
·         Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food or water, often chained in the yard
·         Dogs who have been hit by a car, or show signs listed above, and have not been taken to a vet
·         Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions
·         Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners
·         Animal hoarding
·         Any person, maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, wounds, or kills a living animal
·         Any person overrides, overloads, overworks, torments, or deprives an animal of necessary food, water, or shelter
·         Any person intentionally, for amusement or gain, fights any animal against another animal
·         Any person permits an animal to go without veterinary care for an injury
So now that you know what to look for how can you help prevent animal abuse?

5 Ways to prevent Animal Abuse

1.      Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood – Being aware will make you more likely to notice sudden changes in an animal’s appearance, behavior, or regular habits. 

Example: My friend moved to Arizona, where summer days reach 90 degrees by 9am.  The next door neighbors had a Rottweiler that would bark at her dogs through the fence every day.  The neighbors told my friend they were moving and did so overnight.  A few days after they moved my friend started hearing barking coming from inside the house.  Come to find, the neighbors had abandoned the dog, locked her inside the house with a bucket of water and a bag of food on the floor and never said a word about it.  No cracked window, no dog door for her to be able to potty outside; she was trapped inside the hot and empty house for days.  I am happy to report that my friend rescued this Rottweiler before it was too late and found her a new home.  And it was possible because she was aware of the neighborhood dogs and kept an eye/ear out for sudden changes.

2.      Make the Call – Most animal abuse investigations start with a phone call from a concerned neighbor. “It all comes from the public, it all starts with YOU – that’s why it’s so important to keep your eyes and ears open.” -

·         First, know who to call!

To report abuse in Riverside and unincorporated areas of Corona:
Riverside County Animal Services: 951-358-7387
To report abuse in the city of Corona:
                                    Corona Animal Control: 951-736-2309
To report abuse in San Bernardino:
                                    Animal Care & Control: 1- 800-472-5609
To report abuse in Orange County:
                                    OC Animal Care: (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) 714-935-6848 and
    (5 p.m. – 8 a.m.) 714-935-7158

To report abuse in Los Angeles County:
            Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (spcaLA):
1-800-540-SPCA (7722)

Or report abuse online:

·         Second, provide as much information as possible when reporting animal cruelty.  It helps to first write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place. 
In other words, Who, What, When, Where

3.      Set a good example for others – Be a responsible pet owner and always show your dog the love and care they deserve by ensuring their safety inside and outside of the house.  Remember, you don’t have to physically intimidate your dog to get them to behave.  Its mental dominance they respect, in a calm and assertive leader and that doesn’t require physical force.  If you need help learning to discipline or train your dog without using physical force contact a qualified trainer who can help you learn techniques like Cesar Millan practices.
And most importantly, teach your kids how to treat animals with kindness and respect as well.  Everything you do sends a message, and you never know what little eyes may be watching. 
“Children who abuse animals are more likely to commit crimes as adults, but there are many factors that play into why children abuse animals, these can include witnessing violence or abuse in the home or community where the animal becomes a scapegoat for what the child is feeling”, said Steve Steinberg Mental Health Services Manager for the County of Riverside.

4.      Support your local shelter or animal rescue – It’s a great way to make a difference and give an animal a second chance at a good life.  You can show your support by becoming a foster parent, volunteering your time, or donating (needed supplies, food, money, etc.).  Every little bit helps, and every little bit make a big difference in the life of an animal.

5.      Get involved – You can get involved by fighting for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state, and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.

I hope this knowledge empowers you to make a difference in at least 1 animals life.

“We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” – G.T. Angell

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