What types of animal abuse exist?
There are many types of animal abuse that exist. According to the Parma Animal Shelter, some include: neglect, hoarding, shooting, fighting, beating, mutilation, throwing, stabbing, burning, and vehicular abuse. The Animal Legal Defense Fund explains that, hoarding is when someone keeps a large amount of animals in their house that they are not able to take care, resulting in many diseases and deaths of the animals. Common hoarded animals are species of cats, dogs, reptiles, rodents, birds, and even exotic or farm animals. Lack of veterinary care is also a severe issue among neglected and abused animals. Untreated wounds are a red flag that demand immediate attention; emaciation, scabs and hair loss can also be a sign of untreated diseases. Inadequate shelter, such as extreme heat or cold temperatures, can be very dangerous, if not deadly to animals. Sometimes people leave their dogs chained up all day, every day, but that leads to them suffering tremendously from social isolation, exposure to predators, and they don’t have the freedom to roam around. A countless number of animals die every year when people move away and leave the animals behind. Most of the time, neighbors don’t realize that the animal is in danger, because the house doesn’t look vacated, so they just overlook the situation. Another type of animal abuse is leaving your pet in a car. Time is an essential thing when animals are left in parked cars. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, “Even if the outside temperature seems cold, these animals could be minutes away from death or permanent organ damage.” One other example of animal cruelty is dogfighting and other bloodsports. The Animal Legal Defense Fund also states that, “Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and is linked to other criminal activities. People who are involved in human violence, gambling, and drug distribution are more likely to organize dog fights.” Dog fighting is mainly for the entertainment of paying speculators. These are only a few of countless types of animal abuse that exist.
What is the difference between puppy mills, dog fighting, and animal hoarding?
Puppy mills, dog fighting, and animal hoarding are all different types of animal abuse, but they share the common goal of cruelty. Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding facilities where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. They usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water, or socialization. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, “Most puppy mill puppies, often as young as eight weeks old, are sold to pet stores or directly to the public over the Internet. Dogs in puppy mills are usually kept in cages stacked in columns with wire flooring that injure their paws and legs.” Another type of animal abuse is dog fighting, which is a type of blood sport where dogs are forced to fight one another for the entertainment/profit of spectators. These dogs are typically raised in isolation, so they spend most of their lives on short, heavy chains. Animal hoarding occurs when a person houses more animals than they can care for. This issue encompasses mental health, animal welfare and public safety concerns. “Animal hoarders are unable to prove minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care - resulting in starvation, illness, and death. It’s common for animal hoarders to believe that they are helping the animals and deny their inability to provide minimal care”, stated from ASPCA.
What is the difference between neglect and abuse?
In many ways, neglect and abuse are similar because of the physical and mental cruelty the victim endures. According to The Humane Society of the United States, neglect does not usually involve physical violence, but rather the absence of treatment, care, and basic needs. Animal neglect is the failure to provide basic care required for an animal to survive. It is often associated with human neglect, involving a child, adult, or elder. The neglected animal may be their own pet, a farm animal, or wildlife. Neglected animals are not provided with proper food, water, veterinary care, shelter, and socialization. Animal cruelty or abuse is when someone hurts an animal or does not care for an animal responsibly, like not giving a dog or cat food and water. It is against the law to be cruel to or harm animals, even your own pets.
Why do people abuse animals?
Sometimes people abuse animals because they simply just do not understand that what they are doing to the animal is causing it pain. Other times, people who have abused themselves will most likely be cruel to animals because they believe that is the only way to treat others. According to PAWS - People Helping Animals, “The worst cruelty situations are when people hurt animals knowing that it hurts the animal, and they do it to cause the animal pain. There is no specific reason why people abuse animals, but often they have mental health issues and see the animals as objects rather than creatures with feelings. Evidence shows that people who intentionally abuse animals are typically men under 30 years of age, and those in involved in animal hoarding are more likely to be women over 60.” Most people who abuse animals have some type of mental illness or they are suffering themselves, so they need a way to escape and abusing an animal is their excuse.
What are signs of animal abuse?
There are many signs of animal abuse, but some of them may not be as clear as others. According to The Humane Society, “Common signs of animal abuse include: dogs that are chained up all day without food, water, or shelter, untreated wounds, or malnourished animals. They may also not have a shelter, the collar is too tight, they have lack of grooming - leading to mange, or they are physically starving to death.” Someone in your neighborhood, for example, may have a dog that looks like it just likes to sit outside, but in reality, it could be suffering from not having food or water, and the owner may leave it outside in harsh temperatures, but still make it seem as if they’re taking “good care” of the dog. According to PAWS - People Helping Animals, these are a few things to look for in a neglected or abused animal: “Does the animal have regular access to food, water, and shelter? Is the area clear of broken glass or other objects that may do harm or cause illness? Does the animal have signs of an illness that has not been treated? Have you witnessed someone kicking, beating, or harming the animal in any way? Is the animal’s coat extremely matted or are their nails severely overgrown? Does the animal appear overly aggressive or timid?” It can be difficult to know for sure if an animal is being abused, but if these signs are clear, it’s best to call 911 or an Animal Help Service to make sure the animal isn’t put through anymore danger.
Is animal abuse linked to child abuse?
Animal abuse has connections to child abuse. Most of animal abusers have abused a child or someone in their family after abusing the family pet. Research from the American Psychological Association shows the “pet abuse is a significant part of the pattern of family violence and its early identification can save lives and protect families.” Family violence refers to child abuse, elder abuse, and/or domestic violence. Abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence of another person. The American Psychological Association also states that, “About 71% of women report that their abusers had threatened, injured, or killed their pet. In child abuse cases, 85% of the abusers also abuse family pets. People who abuse animals are 5 times more likely to commit violent crimes and 3 times more likely to have drug or disorderly conduct offenses than non-abusers. Around 70% of abusers had committed other recorded crimes. Between 25 and 40% of women are unable to leave their abusive situations because they have nowhere to take their pets if they leave.” Usually, a person who neglects proper care for their animals is found to neglect proper care for their children. If they can’t take care of animal, they’re not fit to care for a child. Often, abusers have histories of animal abuse beginning in childhood. If no one takes the abuse seriously, the people can become more violent. Melissa Trollinger, from USA Today states, “Most mass murderers were first animal abusers before turning their violent acts towards people. Abuse is about power and control - although women and children are not considered property anymore, people with control issues don’t always see it this way.”
What can you do if you find an abused animal?
If you witness animal abuse or neglect, call the local animal control agency or 911 as soon as possible. Owners often neglect their pets because they don’t understand their pet’s needs, but some owners neglect their animals because they simply just don’t care. If the pet is seriously unhealthy or obviously abused, a humane officer may take them to protective care during the investigation. Do not try to rescue a pet from an abusive or neglectful environment. This is not only illegal, but potentially unsafe.
How can we stop animal abuse from happening/continuing?
Many owners aren’t aware of how important affection is to a pet or even the fact that a puppy can outgrow its collar. The key to preventing abuse is stronger anti-cruelty laws -- laws that empower effective enforcement and include harsh penalties. Prevention of cruel acts can include informing others about what to do if they see such an act or by helping them better understand how to train and care for their pets.