In 1824 the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) was founded in England to pass laws protecting carriage horses from abuse. In 1866 the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was organized to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. Even that far back in history there were people who cared what happens to animals and it continues today.
In 2006 SPCA International was founded in the United States. There outreach programs have helped thousand of animals drastically reducing animal suffering and abuse in the U.S. and worldwide. They assist in areas of conflict and disaster in crisis situations where animals are at risk or in danger. They award shelter grants, emergency grants and offer education and support programs to advance the safety and well-being of animals.
The Humane Society of the United States helps animals by conducting campaigns to reform industries; investigating cases of animal cruelty; advocating for better laws to protect animals; providing animal rescue and emergency response; and caring for animals through their sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, emergency shelters and clinics.
The AnimalShelter.org created a web site to assist in placing homeless animals throughout the United States. They provide a database of animals which will allow you to search for your next pet based on location, breed, gender, animal type and size. You can search their directory to find local animal shelters, lost and found pets, dog parks and find answers to frequently asked questions. Adopting a pet is saving a life.
Local shelters play an integral part in communities getting involved. Volunteers are essential to help with the many required chores to care for the abused and abandoned animals. Foster homes are always needed for temporary placement while a loving family is found. Greeters to assist customers in finding the right pet for their home are always helpful. You may find it fun to help when your local shelter has an adoption fair. If you are an idea person you would be invaluable to help arrange and plan fundraisers and publicity events. Knowledge of grooming is helpful but not mandatory to bath and groom the homeless creatures to increase there chances of adoption. Saving newspapers and old towels to donate is easy enough for anyone to do. The opportunities are endless to get involved.
These are only a handful of wonderful organizations that are dedicated to protect animals and we need to support them however we can. The most important thing we can do is report abuse or cruelty to animals. Learn how to recognize cruelty and know the signs that an animal is being abused.
“It’s almost impossible to make conclusions based on a pet’s behavior alone,” says the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT. “The best way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to examine him and his surrounding environment.”
ASPCA’s list of signs that may alert you an animal needs help.
- Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck
- Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated
- Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
- Extreme thinness or emaciation-bones may be visible
- Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
- Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
- Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
- Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
- Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
- An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
- Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness
- Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
- Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
- Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
- Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements possibly with too many other animals
“Reporting suspected animal cruelty ensures that animals in jeopardy receive prompt and often lifesaving care,” says ASPCA Special Agent Joann Sandano. “By making a complaint to the police or humane society in your area—you can even do so anonymously—you help ensure that animals in need are rescued and that perpetrators of animal cruelty are brought to justice.”
If you see signs of animal abuse, don’t keep it to yourself!