Paws for Thought, 4-23-14 edition
Lincoln County Humane Society Column
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 2:23 PM
Happy April! As you may know, April is National Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month. Animal cruelty can encompass many things, such as physical neglect (not providing fresh food and water or a solid shelter during bad weather), direct violence and physical abuse, deprivation of socialization, torture, maiming, and killing of animals. Animal cruelty is not an easy subject to discuss and at the Lincoln County Humane Society; it is never an easy thing to see. But addressing animal cruelty is an important factor in preventing cruelty from continuing and we owe it to the animals of our community to stop the cycle of abuse and save the innocent victims of violence.
To help prevent animal abuse, one of the main things you can do is pay attention to what is happening close to your own home. Phone calls, even anonymous ones, from concerned citizens who notice a dog without food and water or a cat that endures physical abuse, make all the difference in the world for that animal. Walk around your neighborhood and pay attention to the circumstances in which the local animals live. Is there enough food and water? Is there adequate shelter? If there’s not, it’s a simple call to the Sheriff’s Department that may save the life of that animal.
Another factor in preventing animal cruelty is learning to recognize the signs:
*Injuries on the body, missing patches of hair, body weight far below normal, signs of starvation or limping
*Direct abuse, such as hitting or kicking
*Animals who are injured and have not received any medical treatment
*Dogs who are kept outside in extreme weather conditions without appropriate shelter
*Animals who cower in fear or act aggressive when approached by the owners
When you are reporting animal cruelty, it’s important to contact the correct person and organization. The Lincoln County Humane Society does not have a humane officer to investigate crimes against animals but any cases reported to us will be turned over to the appropriate department. If you call the Police Department to report animal abuse, make sure to ask for the Animal Control Officer or Humane Officer on duty. Lincoln County is very lucky to have dedicated officers on the force that take animal abuse seriously and appreciate the calls reporting the abuse. Calling the Sheriff’s Department at 715-536-6272 or the Tomahawk Police Department 715-453-2121 or the Lincoln County Humane Society at 715-536-3459 to report any animal abuse you are aware of.
When you report animal abuse, it is helpful to the investigators if you report the type of cruelty you witness, who was involved, the date of the incident, and where it took place. If you feel your report is not taken seriously, do not hesitate to contact the ASPCA or a similar organization for results. Calling or writing your local law enforcement agencies as well as your legislators is a great way to voice your feelings and show your support for stronger punishments for animal abusers and thorough investigations of animal abuse.
By setting a good example for others, you reduce the cycle of abuse. Make sure your pets receive quality care and love in addition to food, water, and shelter. If you suspect your animal is sick, visit your local vet. Be responsible and spay or neuter your pets. Make sure your children are aware of how to treat animals with kindness and respect. Education is the most important factor for preventing animal cruelty and it is important for children to be rewarded for kindness and prevented from any negative behaviors. Abuse is a cycle and animals are rarely the only creatures in the home being treated badly.
Supporting the victims of abuse is very important. Donating food, money, and supplies for the animals at the Lincoln County Humane Society will help animals that have experienced abuse. You can also volunteer your time and work with animals that are in need of a caring, loving person to guide them.
Ignoring abuse or deciding that you don’t want to “get involved” can have dire consequences. Animals that experience abuse are often desperate to avoid any further harm and may bite or attack anyone that is perceived as a further threat to their safety. Animal abusers rarely stop with animals and other family members, especially children, are likely to experience abuse or trauma from witnessing animal abuse. Abuse is a vicious cycle and everyone involved is going to deal with the negative repercussions of such behavior.