Did you know that April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month? According to the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, an animal is abused or beaten every ten seconds, and while no one enjoys hearing stories about the horrid lives some beautiful animals endure, there are plenty of things we can all do without needing tissues.
Get to know and look out for the animals in your own neighborhood. By being aware, you are more likely to notice possible indicators of neglect. If you suspect neglect or abuse, contact your local animal control agency or the police department. Without phone calls from concerned citizens, busy law enforcement may be unaware of problems . Provide as much information as possible…it helps to write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date, and place.
Set a good example for others. If you have companion animals, consistently show them the love and good care they deserve. Dogs are pack animals and need more than just food, water, and adequate shelter. Make them part of your family… socialization and companionship are important. Be sure to have your own animals spayed or neutered, and raise awareness to the problem of overpopulation, caused primarily by accidental breeding.
Talk to your kids about the importance of treating animals with respect and kindness. Children should understand that animals are not toys, but living creatures with the ability to feel pain, hunger and fear. Respecting animals needs to start young because violence toward animals often escalates to violence toward people later in life.
Support your local shelter or animal rescue organization. Supplies and monetary donations are always welcomed, but there are many other forms of volunteering, including office work, cleaning, socializing, and walking dogs. If you volunteer just one hour each week for an entire year to walk dogs, you’ve spent 52 hours enhancing the lives of needy dogs.
Puppy mills are a horrible reality of the pet industry. Refuse to buy pets or supplies from any store or website that sells animals. While you may think buying a puppy mill pet is saving an animal, it is only encouraging those mills to stay in business by keeping the demand for their business.. Adopt only from shelters or buy from reputable breeders and encourage your friends to do the same.
It is imperative that our politicians support animal protection legislation. The state of Iowa has the second largest number of licensed commercial dog-breeders in the entire country, and according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Iowa ranks 49th out of 50 states regarding the quality of laws aimed at preventing animal neglect and abuse, or punishing those who commit violent acts against animals. Better laws are needed to protect Iowa’s companion animals. Other states have enacted changes that improve the quality of life for the thousands of animals who continue to suffer needlessly. New Jersey governor, Chris Christie toughened penalties for animal cruelty in 2013. “Patrick’s Law” was named after an emaciated pit bull found after it had been thrown down a trash chute. Almost all states have passed legislation with punishment for failing to provide an animal with basic necessities, and fines for animal abuse were increased. We all feel bad about Iowa’s puppy mill dogs…and want to help, right? Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, a grassroots, Iowa based, and Iowa focused, all volunteer organization, is working hard to get basic, NON-radical protections for dogs in Iowa’s commercial breeding kennels, and because a bill is being considered during this legislative session, they encourage everyone to write to their current representatives and ask them to support this bill. IVCA sends out periodic progress reports and “Calls to Action” emails with specific and easy-to- understood information. PLEASE signup to join Iowa’s grassroots efforts…Just click on http://www.iowavca.org and become a voice for the voiceless dogs who have no choice. WE have voices and WE have the power to make life better for Iowa dogs. Together we can make a difference!