Animal cruelty can happen anywhere. From hoarding to neglect, animals are placed in dangerous situations every single day. It’s an upsetting fact, but you can help prevent and stop animal cruelty from happening in your neighborhood.
Here are some steps you can take to be an advocate for animals:
Learn how to recognize signs of animal cruelty. There are often warning signs that are indicators that animals are being treated inhumanely. Some are more apparent than others, but by studying this list, you’ll know what to look out for.
Know who to call. Find out who is responsible for investigating and enforcing the anti-cruelty codes in your town, county or state. This might include your local humane organization, animal control agency, taxpayer-funded animal shelter or police precinct.
Provide a detailed report. When reporting animal cruelty, it is best to give a concise statement about what you’ve witnessed or suspect. Include photos if at all possible. Don’t forget to include dates, times, and as many details as you can in your report. Keep copies for your own records and take notes!
Follow up. If you don't receive a response from the officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, don't be afraid to contact his supervisor and, if necessary, local government officials.
The Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program works in conjunction with Humane Law Enforcement to intervene in cases involving animals that are not victims of cruelty but may be at risk of becoming victims without intervention. To date, CIA has intervened in over 80 animal hoarding cases in New York City’s five boroughs. CIA’s Colleen Doherty told us about her work during Sandy.
When Hurricane Sandy hit NYC, I knew I had to get out to cases in impacted areas as quickly as possible to check on the condition of the animals. I responded to 11 cases in two days with a Humane Law Enforcement Agent and veterinarian, providing wellness checks to animals and critical supplies such as pet food and litter.
One case in particular in Coney Island, an area heavily impacted by Sandy, involves a family with 50 cats. Just before Sandy hit, the CIA team was coordinating a rescue operation to remove these cats and place them for adoption as soon as they were rehabilitated. Sandy interrupted this effort, and after the storm, I was not able to get in touch with the family because the cell service and power was out. I headed there right away to check on them.
Luckily they didn’t sustain major flooding. They were in need of some supplies as lots of local stores were closed or flooded, so we provided them with all the essentials.
It is an unbelievable feeling to be a lifeline to so many animals in my community. Being able to have a hands-on approach, seeing the condition of animals, pet parents and homes, and to see a case to completion, is an amazing privilege that I feel very lucky to have.
Yesterday we told you about our field team’s work to reunite families with their pets in the Rockaways, one of many areas that were devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Check out this touching video of Leanne Rivera’s reunion with her beloved pup Precious.
Hurricane Sandy left many victims in her wake. However, we are relieved to report that Ivy, a one-year-old service dog, who was badly injured in the aftermath the storm, is expected to survive.
On Wednesday night, Ivy’s guardians were unable to go outside to walk her. Without power in their Manhattan apartment building, their elevator was also out of service. They asked their neighbor to take Ivy outside for some exercise.
Unfortunately, Ivy wandered off her leash onto a busy New York street, where she was presumably hit by multiple cars. A local resident found her early Thursday morning, and while she had suffered very severe injuries, she was still alive. Ivy was transported to the ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan to undergo treatment. This brave dog is expected to make a full recovery.
Update 11/8/12: Ivy is continuing to recover from her injuries until she can return home to her dedicated pet parents. One of Ivy’s pet parents is hearing-impaired, and the other is incapacitated due to a knee injury and was unable to walk her during Hurricane Sandy. While Ivy was walking with a neighbor, she escaped from her collar and was hit by a car before being rescued by a good Samaritan and brought to the ASPCA. We are all looking forward to Ivy’s speedy recovery.
Guest blog post from Bill Ketzer, Senior Director of the Northeastern Region for ASPCA Government Relations.
Last week, a historic law went into effect that will vastly improve the quality of life for thousands of dogs and cats in Massachusetts.
Advanced by a forward-thinking state legislature led by Senator Patricia Jehlen and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick this August, Massachusetts’ new animal control law is one of the best in the nation.
At Animal Advocacy Day in Boston earlier this year, I had the privilege of working directly with the MSPCA, the HSUS, the Animal Rescue League of Boston and more than 80 citizen advocates to discuss the importance of this bill with key members of the Massachusetts House and Senate. Everyone involved was engaged, well-informed and passionate—and as you can see, this clearly resonated with legislators and staff.
The new Massachusetts law:
Creates a statewide spay/neuter program—funded by a voluntary tax check-off—to reduce the number of homeless animals in Massachusetts.
Requires animal control officers to receive training.
Prohibits the use of inhumane gassing to euthanize shelter animals.
Eliminates ineffective, breed-specific local ordinances while improving dangerous dog laws.
Allows pets to be included in domestic violence protection orders to protect both animals and people.
Creates a framework for statewide oversight for animal control.
Creates categories for kennel licensing.
Creates consistency in the holding time for stray dogs at shelters statewide.