“Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well with others.”
? César Chávez
The civil and animal rights founder of the National Farm Workers Association (United Farm Worker’s Union) was right on the button in explaining what our attitudes towards all life should be.
Non-violence, rightly put, applies to animals as well.
For various reasons, our furry friends are often the subject of abandonment and in an even more tragic scenario, abuse. While this is not by any means a positive scenario, the issue does need to be reiterated.
To take positive steps forward, we need to acknowledge the problem that animals are being mistreated. Only then will we be in a better position to provide them the help they need.
Why people abuse animals
Animals are mistreated for any number of reasons, all of them very much less than excusable. The psyche of those responsible requires much guidance, counselling and help.
The desire for power
Some among us have an insatiable desire for power, and in many cases, the one way they are able to exercise it is over an animal. Not being able to channel the need for control elsewhere, they do so towards animals. Sadly, that need for superiority is channeled physically.
Prejudice against specific breeds
Certain people have prejudices against specific breeds or animals and abuse them out of their sheer hatred. They believe, for example, that Rottweilers are violent, aggressive and that the best defence is offence against them.
Uncontrolled violent tendencies
Some animal abusers abuse because they have violent tendencies, and are simply prone to being abusive. These tendencies could be a result of them having experience violence before in their lives.
Ways animals are abused
Animals are abused in a variety of ways and it is helpful to take the relevant action of any of these forms of abuse are noticed.
Hitting or kicking an animal will constitute this kind of abuse. Some have taken to the extreme forms of setting an animal on fire or dragging it across the road.
Leaving a dog or cat in a car on a hot day under the hot sun will constitute this type of abuse. More often than not, owners do not realize that they are actually abusing the animal through sheer lack of awareness.
Conveniently forgetting to feed a pet and saying “i’ll do it later” falls under this category of abuse.
Neglecting to groom it regularly and check it for fleas is less serious, but also forms under this category of neglect.
Giving abused animals a hand
Pet lovers everywhere can do their part to help animals which are mistreated, from little donation drives to standing up to the abuser when the abuse is spotted. Every little bit can and will help.
Donations to shelters
Many animals are mistreated and later abandoned at shelters, which will always require funds to manage. Regular donations to shelters will help ease the burden they have of caring for the many less than fortunate animals that come through their doors.
Making little toys and donating the proceeds of the sales to these shelters can help to ease their burdens as well.
Learn the laws about animals.
Contact local agencies or the police if you suspect an abuser, and familiarize yourself with the laws against animal abuse. It gives one more leverage when confronting anyone about suspected animal abuse. Be prepared to appear in court should the abuser is caught so as to bring him to justice.
Seek help from specialists in animal abuse litigation whenever possible.
Educate the owner.
Explain to someone who keeps an animal chained outside the home that it is better to keep the animal indoors as it will become better adjusted. If the animal is not house trained, raise awareness that it is possible to keep the dog in a puppy proof area.
Offer to help the dog in other ways.
If the dog’s owner is not receptive to suggestions, there are ways to help the dog. Tactfully offer to take the dog for walks, or board it for a few days at a time.
If you notice the dog being chained outside, watch for signs of dehydration. If the owner is not amenable to taking the dog inside. offer to board it or offer to build it a warm, durable, dog house
Visit the dog regularly and subtly offer whatever help you can.
Get help from the SPCA.
If you suspect an abuser, notify the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. A representative might be able to persuade the owner to take better care of the animal.
If you can see that the animal is obviously being abused, gather evidence before any of the above authorities are notified. Do not try to confront the abuser openly because such a person will, at best, not be amenable and at worst, be abusive towards you.
Animal abuse is certainly a situation of much gravity. We are all able, in big and small ways, to raise awareness about this issue and give animals a hand.
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