The 5-month-old puppy came into the care of Black Dog Animal Rescue, located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in March 2017. The signs of abuse were apparent: more than 20 broken bones, a large, fluid-filled mass on the dog’s neck and shoulders, and her timidity around people. Months of medical and emotional care transpired, and her story took flight thanks to local media and animal advocates on social media. The pit-mix was named Angel; she became the “spokesdog” for advancing stiffer cruelty laws in Wyoming. Angel recovered from all her physical injuries and eventually the happy, friendly puppy-self emerged. She was adopted by one of BDAR’s board members and renamed Stitch. Read her entire journey and see photos and X-rays of her injuries here: http://www.bdar.org/angel/
Although no strong statistics are available on the number of animal abuse cases, which can and often does include the international trade of dog meat and the national issue of horse slaughter, hoarding, dog and cock fighting, and puppy and kitten mills, the issue of animal cruelty exists everywhere. The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) documented 29 incidences last year in which they were called in to assist. More than 47,000 animals were rescued or helped in some way last year, and more than 300 criminal charges were filed, according to the organization. Just last week, the organization announced it was helping New Mexico law enforcement with a critical case involving more than 100 animals, many living without shelter and in need of medical care at a supposed animal sanctuary.
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month
April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. What can you do to help? Here are five suggestions:
Forms of Abuse
Animal cruelty takes on many forms, from lack of food, water and shelter and violence against an animal (as in Angel’s case) to dog fighting and puppy mills. The dog my husband and I adopted last fall, Jeremiah, is a puppy mill survivor. He and many other dogs were rescued by Hearts United for Animals (HUA), a sanctuary in southeastern Nebraska which, for the past 30+ years, has rescued animals throughout the Midwest. That portion of the country seems plagued with puppy mills, with Kansas, Missouri, and Iowa involved in this industry in high numbers. But, according to the Humane Society of the United States’ 2017 report on puppy mills, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas also have a big issue. That’s why organizations like HUA, which recently helped rescue several German shepherd dogs, and National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR), exist – to provide a sanctuary where these animals can heal physically and emotionally and hopefully find these creatures new, loving homes. Which we’ve provided for our Jeremiah.
Cruelty to animals is not something to be taken lightly. These animals suffer, physically and emotionally, such as children and other people do. Let’s hold abusers accountable and not tolerate the harm they inflict.
Resources on animal cruelty:
The pictures we saw appalled and enraged many. Photos of a dog’s mouth wrapped in electrical tape circulated the internet in 2015. A dog named Diamond was found by her previous owner with physical and emotional injuries, and the abuse led authorities to the dog’s then-owner. Charges were filed and the case was soon to come to court. However, according to a recent article by The Doggington Post, the man, 43-year-old William Leonard Dodson was sentence to 15 years in prison on unrelated charges. He may still receive additional time for the abuse afflicted on Caitlyn, who continues to recover in a foster home. Read the full article here: http://www.dogingtonpost.com/caitlyn-the-dogs-abuser-sentenced-to-15-years-prison-on-unrelated-charges/
April is just around the corner, and with it, in addition to the rain showers that can bring May flowers, is the month to bring greater awareness to animal abuse. Known as Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, many animal shelters and humane organizations use this month to educate and inform people that animal abuse is, sadly, still alive and well. Many such cases remind us of that sad fact.
For example, the dog fighting operations led by football great Michael Vick made significant headlines and shown a light on this dark, disgusting trade; a small terrier mix, later named Hazel Grace by her rescuers, was burned with a blow torch – the miracle survivor often acts as a poster child for abuse cases in the Midwest; in Utah, family’s beloved pet cat was tortured to death; and in my state of Wyoming, a dog with broken toes and other injuries was rescued by and received veterinary care by a Cheyenne animal welfare organization.
Experts contend that animal abuse often escalates to violence against people, including domestic violence, homicide, and mass murder.
According to the ASPCA, every 60 seconds an animal is abused. What can you do to help fight animal cruelty? Here are a few ways:
Read more about helping prevent cruelty to animals by visiting this website: https://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/animal-abuse/
Many people stood up for and continue to stand up for Caitlyn. See the inspiring video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTvC1ntqCpI
Be a voice for the voiceless and be a hero to animals like Caitlyn. The more heroes and concerned citizens there are, the more we’ll stop such torture.
Gayle M. Irwin is a writer and public relations professional who volunteers with various animal rescue groups. She enjoys sharing her books and her passion for pets and the environment with others.