Although it’s hard to think about, animal cruelty is a real issue. Animals depend on us for their basic needs, and since they can’t tell us if something is wrong, we have to stand up and be their voice.

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, which helps raise awareness of cruelty to dogs, cats, and other animals. All of us can play a part in helping support the prevention of cruelty to animals. You can help save lives!

Understanding Animal Abuse

The Humane Society of the United States says that animal cruelty includes intentional, malicious acts of harm and less clear-cut situations in which the needs of an animal are neglected. Intentional cruelty to animals is strongly correlated with other crimes, such as domestic abuse and criminal violence.

Most cases of animal abuse are never reported, so it’s difficult to calculate how common it is. Animal abuse most often reported involves the abuse of dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.

Be Aware of the Signs of Animal Abuse

Being aware of the signs of animal abuse is one of the first steps in helping prevent cruelty to animals. Be on the lookout for untreated injuries, animals that are permanently tied to a chain, protruding bones, abandoned pets, animal hoarding, dog fighting, poor living conditions, lack of shelter or veterinary care, and animals that lack basic necessities like food or water. Collecting evidence, such as videos or photos, can also be beneficial to help prove that abuse is happening.

Report Suspected Cruelty or Neglect

Animals can’t speak out and tell others that they are being abused, so we are responsible for telling the right people. If you suspect animal abuse is happening, it’s important that you report it. If your city or town doesn’t have a local animal control, you can make a report with the sheriff or your law enforcement agency. You can even remain anonymous when filing a report.

Bring More Awareness & Educate Others

Some people simply don’t know that animal cruelty is such a widespread issue, so bringing more awareness of the issue can be beneficial. You can also try to educate others about proper pet care and the signs of animal abuse as well as encourage others to report cases of animal cruelty. It’s also important to raise your children to be compassionate and loving toward animals, as they are the next generation of animal caretakers.

Help Out Your Local Shelter

Animal shelters and rescues work hard to take care of abused animals and find them new, caring homes. Shelters and rescue organizations play an important role in the lives of abused animals by rescuing and rehabilitating them. There are many different ways that you can support your local shelter as they do their part to end animal cruelty. You can volunteer your time, foster animals, or donate supplies or money.

Adopt from Shelters

If you’re considering adding a furry friend to your family, consider adopting a pet from a shelter. There are so many animals in shelters that are just waiting to be loved. You can give an animal a second chance through adoption.

If we all do our part to prevent animal cruelty, we can save the lives and suffering of countless animals. Be vigilant and always report!