There is an ugly side to pet ownership, and unfortunately that side often goes public with tales of abuse so heinous and sickening, you can’t help but wonder how on earth these people were able to get pets to begin with.
Take Lacey, a 6-year-old mixed breed terrier, who was struck in the face with a golf club and her eyes doused in bleach. Instead of taking this poor creature to the vet, the owner, Robert Gonzales, chose to tie her up outside where she stayed for four days before getting help.
And who could forget Michael Vick? He killed innocent dogs for money and sport.
So what do you do when you see a dog, or any animal for that fact, being abused? One of the most important things you can do is to document as much of the abuse as you can. Use these guidelines from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA):
- Use your cell phone to take pictures or to record a video of the abuse.
- Take note of where you were and the time it occurred.
- If there are other witnesses, talk to them and get their side of the story and contact information.
- Call the police or local humane authorities. Animal abuse is a crime and it should be reported. You can report anonymously if you feel uncomfortable or fear retribution. As a witness to the crime, you will be protected.
Keep in mind that not everyone will be willing to cooperate, but you should still try to get as many details as possible. These details will help the police or humane authorities catch and prosecute the abuser.
Your state’s laws regarding animal abuse/cruelty are easy to find with a quick Google search or a phone call to your local humane society. Currently 41 states and the District of Columbia have felony provisions for animal cruelty.
It’s scary to call the police on someone, but a dog literally has no one to call if it is being abused.
Lastly, don’t forget to follow up. You may feel like you’ve done everything you can and now it’s out of your hands, but it could mean the difference between saving one dog or 10.
PHOTO: Tony Alter