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Any kind of abuse is considered morally wrong and, in most cases, against the law. In fact, most people know that it is possible to be prosecuted for abusive actions against another person. Today, abuse and neglect of animals is also an act that could result in criminal charges. This includes actions like setting up animal fights, hording animals, and neglect. Unfortunately, many of these situations go unnoticed and unreported, making it difficult to get accurate statistics. More than 1,900 cases of animal abuse cases are reported to the media each year. In these situations, more than half of the victims are dogs.
In the past, it’s been tough to get accurate statistics on animal abuse, as many local and national agencies have lumped these situations in with general abuse complaints. However, recently, federal organizations like the FBI have started to separate out the crimes committed against animals in order to create more accurate statistics. It is important to note that statistics show a link between animal cruelty and other violent crimes. Because of this, animal abuse is getting even more attention, as it could be an indicator of future abuse of other animals or individuals.
- Animal Cruelty Crime Statistics: Survey of State Uniform Crime Reporting Programs (PDF)
- The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Other Violent Crimes (PDF)
- Link Between Animal and Human Violence
Even with all of the available statistics, an overwhelming number of cases involving animal abuse or cruelty go unreported. Sometimes, people don’t want to take action or can’t be sure that abuse is really occurring. For others, there is a lack of information available on how to report the abuse and what can be done to prevent it in the future. One of the most important ways to help stop animal abuse or neglect is to report the incident to the proper organization. Many communities have animal welfare agencies that will offer help and assistance when an animal is being abused. In some locations, you can call 911 in order to make a report because the actions are considered to be illegal. When making a report, be prepared to explain what happened and, if possible, provide documentation of the abuse, including what you have witnessed, when it occurred, and who is responsible. Other ways you can help include backing the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare through World Animal Protection.
When animals aren’t being taken care of, it’s important to speak up and make a difference. But what can the average person do to help prevent animal abuse? Decreasing overpopulation is a great start. Individuals who have pets are encouraged to have them spayed and neutered. This decreases the number of animals and at the same time decreases instances of abandonment and neglect. For those interested in becoming a pet owner, starting at a local shelter is a perfect way to find an animal that truly needs a home. This ensures that one animal has a home and is protected in a safe and loving environment.
- World Animal Protection: Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare
- The Humane Society of the United States: Report Animal Cruelty
- Animal Abuse: Forensic Tools to Determine Accidents vs. Intentional Injury
- Investigating and Prosecuting Animal Abuse (PDF)
- Five Easy Ways to Prevent Animal Cruelty
Animal cruelty organizations try to educate individuals and their communities in order to stop abuse and prevent future abuse or neglect. This can be a tough task, as some people aren’t aware of how prevalent animal cruelty can be. Each of these organizations works to help in their own way. However, most focus on one or more of the following animal abuse prevention methods: animal rescue, animal placement, and animal protection. Most of these organizations are nonprofits, so they require the financial support of companies and individuals that believe in protecting animals. But raising funds isn’t always easy, especially when it can be tough to get people to recognize that there is a real problem. Fundraisers are a great way to bring in the money it takes to provide rescue, placement, or protection options. Wristbands are a great way to raise more than just money. Each of the wristbands serves as a reminder to others about the importance of taking a stand against animal abuse and neglect.