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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preventing & Reporting Animal Cruelty

I've never come so close to the mistreatment of an animal as I did when I came home from work the other night, only to hear a few doors down the hall in the condo that I live in, a woman yelling at her dog as her dog squealed in, what I can only assume as, pain.  Instinctively, I rushed over to her door and banged as hard as I could; the yelling and squealing stopped, however, the woman would not answer her door.  I told her, through her door, that I was going to report her to the OSPCA as I strongly feel that this person should not be allowed to have any animal in her possession if she feels it is ok to harm an animal in any way; verbally or physically. 

The OSPCA was closed at the time as I did call them after hours, however, I left lengthy emails and voice messages in hopes that they would recognize my concerns.

To my relief, I received a call from the OSPCA the next business day, and while they were genuinely concerned for the well-being of this animal, unfortunately since the act occurred behind closed doors and I did not actually witness any abuse, legally, there was nothing much they could do.  With that being said, they encouraged me to complain to my condo board about the level of noise from the owner and also to notify animal control for excessive noise by the animal. 

By doing so, a uniformed officer would pay a visit to the owner, check that the dog is registered, and while there they would be able to inspect the animal and its living conditions, should there be any cause for concern, they would have the authority to notify investigators at the OSPCA who will then be able to take action.  If there is nothing out of the ordinary, hopefully the visit from this officer will raise concern to the dog owner that the situation is being monitored in hopes that her behaviour will stop all together.

As a dog owner and animal advocate myself, it breaks my heart to know that any human being has it in them to inflict harm on an animal. 

What is Animal Cruelty?

Animal cruelty does not only pertain to physical harm or injury inflicted on an animal.  In fact, neglect in the form of failure to provide adequate water, food, shelter, proper living conditions or care are all acts of cruelty due to the owner's ignorance and can be rectified by law enforcement authorities, like the OSPCA.

Recognizing Signs of Animal Cruelty

The person you may suspect to be the least capable of animal cruelty may very well be the person who mistreats his / her animal behind closed doors.  

Most common signs of neglect:

1)  Visible wounds or scars on body
2)  Unkept nails and lack of grooming
3)  Emaciated animals with ribs or backbone protruding
4)  Limping
5)  Animals left alone without food or water for many hours, often chained to a fence
6)  Animals left outdoors without proper shelter
7)  Acts of kicking or hitting an animal
8)  Animals left in cars during extreme weather conditions
9)  Animals crammed into tiny cages; overcrowding
10) Animals kept in unsanitary conditions

If you witness these acts of cruelty and fail to report it, the act of not doing anything is just as bad as the act itself. If your concern is feeling bad to have the animal taken away from the owner, note that the owner will be given a chance to change his or her behaviours before the animal is actually taken away from them (depending on how severe the case may be).

Do your part, take a stance, it's a start.

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