The statistics don’t lie.
As many as 1,400 pets are neglected or abused each year, and many of these animals do not survive to the next, according to Humane Society statistics in 2011. Even more cases go unreported, but the signs are there, and some of those animals may yet have a chance if those who see something say something.
Animal abuse is illegal in every state and has been linked to other violent crimes, like violence against children, Pets for Patriots reports.
So is animal abuse happening in your community?
If you see someone abusing an animal, you should contact the police department or call 9-1-1 immediately. But there’s a greater chance it’s happening behind closed doors, and if you know what to look for, you could make a big difference in the life of an animal in need.
Keep in mind, the worst thing you can do is nothing.
Here are the most common signs of animal abuse:
9. No Food or Water
An animal left alone without food or water may already be on edge, wondering where its next meal will come from. Happening regularly enough, such neglect can lead to aggression and long-term behavioral issues.
But even in the worst conditions, there is still hope.
A dog named Duke was chained up alone outside every day without food or water for five years before he was rescued by volunteers from the Ilioupolis Animal Welfare Union. He was then transferred from squalor in rural Greece to a happy new forever home in Denmark, where he’s been flourishing ever since.
8. No Shelter
Even when the weather isn’t bad, an animal outdoors still needs shelter from the sun. Left outdoors without proper shelter, pets are much more prone to suffer from illness and injury.
During the winter, an outdoor pet shelter is imperative. Animals left in the cold without respite from the elements are much more likely to suffer from frostbite or even freeze to death. According to TODAY, staff from the Detroit Dog Rescue are finding frozen animals on a regular basis.
“We’re finding dogs dead in dog houses and strays curled up deceased in fields,” Detroit Dog Rescue founder Kristina Millman-Rinaldi told TODAY. “It’s maddening, sad, and discouraging.”
Click the button below to learn more ways to spot animal abuse.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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