We are all heartsick and disbelieving when we see or read about some of the horrific cases of animal abuse that make the evening news. Animal abuse runs the gamut from cases of deliberate cruelty that leave us shaking our heads and wondering what kind of sick people could commit these acts, to more frequent, but less frequently reported cases of neglect such as leaving an animal tied outside without water or adequate shelter from the elements. No one wants to see a helpless animal suffer, and you can step up and prevent cruelty to animals; Here are some of the ways you can help:
1. Learn to recognize cruelty to animals and report it when you see it. Many incidents go unreported either because people are not sure what constitutes animal abuse/cruelty or because they are not sure how to report it. Read here to learn 1) how to identify animal abuse/cruelty, 2) what information you need to have when you make a report and 3) who you should call to report animal cruelty/abuse in Georgia. Remember, animals can't speak for themselves. If we don't speak for them when we see mistreatment, no one will.
2. Boycott stores that sell puppies. The puppies who are sold to stores often come from puppy mills with hideous conditions, where dogs are bred continuously until they die.
3. Set a good example by treating your own pets with love and kindness. Make sure they have adequate food, water and shelter. Make sure they are healthy and receive the vaccinations they need. Have them spayed or neutered to prevent more unwanted animals, many of whom end up in shelters where they are needlessly euthanized
4. Teach your children to respect animals and treat them with kindness. Make sure your children understand that animals are living creatures who have the ability to feel pain, joy and sadness. If our children understand the importance of these simple tenets, we will one day have a world where animal cruelty is a thing of the past.
5. If you have some time to spare, find your local animal shelter and spend some time with the animals, volunteering to play with them, walk them, and give them the love that has been missing in many of their lives.
6. Use household and personal care products that are developed without using animals for testing purposes. The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics’ Leaping Bunny Program has established high standards for products labelled cruelty free, and many of these products are available at supermarkets,shopping malls and drug stores everywhere. By buying cruelty-free, you are supporting businesses that care for animals, supporting the compassionate treatment of animals and adding your voice to the growing number of people who know there is a better way! Find out more here.
7. Recognize that cruelty to animals extends beyond the cats and dogs who live in our midst, to animals used for food. Learn more here, and consider making dietary changes that eliminate or reduce consumption of animal products. Have you tried observing Meatless Mondays?
6. Adopt from a local shelter. The animals here are just waiting for a loving home. Many of them have been neglected and abandoned, and they deserve a chance at a life filled with love.
7. Become an animal advocate. Learn about the laws governing treatment of animals in your communit. Let your community leaders and legislators know that animal welfare is important to you and that you want to see legislation enacted to protect animals and make sure they are treated humanely.
8. Support your local shelter. Help them to help the homeless and abandoned animals in our community by providing them with the means to rescue and care for these animals. Stupport can take many forms -- montetary donations, time spent helping at the shelter, donations of needed supplies. There are many ways to help.