April is ASPCA Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and the team here at BestBullySticks thought we should not only highlight the importance of this holiday, but also share a few ways you can lend a hand.
Acts of animal cruelty often go unnoticed by observers and owners alike. President of the American Animal Hospital Association (AHAA) DVM Gregg Takashima notes that in his twenty-five years as a veterinarian, most abuse cases he’s seen are the result of owners who have inadvertently neglected their pets simply because they don’t know any better.
Education and Activism
While animal cruelty strikes in variety of ways, they can all prevented through education. The first step to education is setting a good example as a pet owner. As a model caretaker, your actions will influence others. Community role models for pet care not only help curb instances of abuse among current owners, but future ones as well. Teaching children about responsible pet ownership at an early age will make them lifelong advocates in the fight against animal abuse.
Grassroots forms of activism like community education is of tremendous help to the cause. Consider looking into local volunteer opportunities as well. From raising awareness to caring for the abused, these opportunities are widely available across the country. Contact your local SPCA to find about volunteering in your community.
Sadly, some forms of abuse are not as obvious as others. Everything from hoarding pets to starvation and blatant infliction of physical pain falls into the category of abuse. And while it’s nearly impossible to determine if an animal has been abused based solely on it’s behavior, there are other indicators. According to ASPCA animal behavior expert and certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) Kristen Collins, “the best way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to examine him and his surrounding environment.” Leaving pets outdoors for extended periods can even considered a form of abuse. Animals require shade and warmth depending on the season as well as basic protection from the elements. If you witness animal abuse, don’t hesitate to report these crimes to animal control, a local humane society, or even the police.
Choosing a Pet
Responsible pet care begins with a simple choice — where you decided to get your pet. If you do decide to purchase your loved one from a breeder, make sure your pet is coming from a responsible breeder and a loving environment — and not a “puppy mill.” Animals sold through pet stores and online generally come from these abusive environments. Thousands of dogs suffer in puppy mills yearly as mothers are separated from their pups prematurely and kept in inhumane living conditions. With so many sheltered animals across the country waiting for a loving owner like yourself, BestBullySticks supports the adoption of animals whenever possible.
Dogs from puppy mills often develop physiological issues later in life. Congenital and hereditary disorders like heart disease, deafness, epilepsy and musculoskeletal disorders are the most common. Withdraw your support from these abusive businesses by adopting from your local shelter or purchasing from a reputable breeder.
While there have been great strides in animal protection laws, there’s always room for improvement! Contact your local representatives and ask them to do their part in the protection of animals. The Humane Society has even put together a list of elected federal and state officials. Offering representative directories, advocate toolkits and resources for students, The Humane Society is valuable resource for advocates of all ages. Familiarize yourself with how to recognize animal cruelty and share this important information with your community.
At the end of the day, the duty to protect animals rests on our shoulders. Animals are loving and loyal creatures — placing complete trust in their owner for a lifetime — and we at BestBullySticks believe it’s our job as pet owners not to betray that trust. Check out our Rescue and Shelter Donation page where you can purchase products and donate them to your local shelter — we’ll even match your donation!