If you are an animal lover, it breaks your heart to see them mistreated. If you would like to do your part to help prevent cruelty to animals, here are several things you can do.
The first step to preventing animal cruelty is to be able to recognize it. The two different types of animal cruelty are direct violence and neglect.
Direct violence is usually easier to spot. The animal may have obvious wounds, scars, limp, or appear to be in pain. While a fight with another dog or a car accident may also cause these, dogs that are victims of violence will also display different behavior traits. They may hold their head down, put their tail between their legs, hide, or cower. Be aware that there are other reasons for these behaviors as well, however, when there is a combination of both physical and behavioral signs, the likelihood that there may be abuse is higher.
Neglect can be harder to spot, but this is the most common form of animal cruelty. If they are poorly groomed, left outside during bad weather or constantly on a chain, seem underfed, live in unsanitary or unsafe conditions, or have signs of untreated wounds or illnesses, they are being neglected.
If you see or suspect a dog is the victim of animal cruelty, you shouldn't try to handle the situation yourself. You should contact authorities who are trained to investigate and handle these matters. Animal control or your local humane society are a good place to start, but if you aren't sure who to contact, call your local police department. They will either get involved themselves or direct you to the proper authorities.
Of course, the best way to deal with animal cruelty is to stop it before it starts. This is where education comes in. Educate everyone you can about what taking care of a pet entails, and what they shouldn't do. Many people aren't intentionally cruel to their animals. They either don't realize the level of responsibility involved before they get a pet, or they don't realize the effect their actions are having.
Become an advocate for animals in your area. Keep a watch out for signs of abuse, notify the proper authorities if you suspect abuse, and educate others about how to properly care for their pets.
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