April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month: How Can You Get Involved?
Author: Amanda Brahlek
If you’re reading this, you likely have a soft spot in your heart for animals. Unfortunately, despite a great deal of progress in the U.S., not everyone can say the same. And other inadvertently mistreat, neglect, or malnourish their pets due to a lack of understanding.
The unfortunate reality is many animals still suffer from unbearable, deplorable, and abusive conditions. This is why we hope more people like you will get involved, take action, and make a difference. Can you be the voice of mistreated animals? In honor of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, consider becoming an advocate for animals in need of some extra love by getting involved in one of the following ways.
1. Volunteer Your Time at a Shelter or Animal Sanctuary
One of the most effective ways to help animals is to volunteer for organizations that help animals. Volunteers provide animals in shelters and sanctuaries much-needed one-on-one attention and reduce the cost of care. When shelters save money on payroll, they can redistribute that money and invest in better facilities and food. And most importantly, save more animals.
What kind of volunteer work can you expect to participate in?
- Walking dogs
- Playing with cats
- Cleaning kennels, stalls, and litter boxes
- Socializing pets
- Transporting animals (often to the vet)
- Greeting potential adopters
- Training other volunteers
Don’t all of these activities sound like a blast? Not only can volunteering be fun, but the difference you can make for pets is unmeasurable. Plus, you will never forget the look in the eyes of the animals whose lives you saved and changed.
2. Foster Pets as They Get Back on their Paws
Fostering animals is a wonderful way to make more space in shelters and save animal lives. When you open your home and heart to an animal that needs to learn some social skills or is recovering from medical treatment, you’re giving that animal a chance at a better life.
Without fosters, shelters are not able to help as many pets. When shelters have stricter limitations on their in-take numbers, more animals wind up euthanized. As for pets learning social skills, without the chance to learn how to live in a home, they are often deemed unadoptable.
3. Don’t Ignore Signs of Cruelty & Act
We still find that many people don’t want to interfere or step in when they suspect an animal is being mistreated. Some feel it’s not their business while others aren’t sure what they can do. Additionally, people often aren’t sure if what they see should be considered mistreatment. If you see any of the following, please report it to your local animal control or the ASPCA or you can call the police:
- A pet that is tied outside
- An outdoor pet without shelter from the elements
- A pet that needs obvious veterinary care
- Too many pets that the owner can no longer keep up (hoarding)
- Neglect or undernourishment (visible ribs and spine)
- Direct physical abuse
- A pet that has been abandoned
- Animal fighting situations
- A pet left in a hot car
Keep in mind that if you are not responsible for deeming the situation as cruel, the authorities can assess and determine if the animal should be removed.
Additionally, sometimes neighbors need a helping hand. If you notice a neighbor that struggles to walk their dog, have them groomed properly, or keep up with their pet’s nutritional needs, offer assistance. You can even point them in the direction of a local pet food bank. Keeping a pet in a loving home can save its life.
4. Talk to Your Local Politicians and Local Elected Officials
By talking to your local council people, representatives, and other politicians, you are able to advocate for stricter regulations on animal cruelty. This also lets your local delegates know that the treatment of animals is a priority for their voters.
When contacting a local elected leader, prioritize any gaps in local law. To do this you should first look into what your local laws are. For example, many areas allow pets to be left outside 24/7. You can bring this issue to their attention and suggest a change to the law.
5. Donate to Local Initiatives
If you do not have the time or ability to volunteer and foster, donating supplies and money help local shelters and anti-cruelty groups. Many shelters will have a page on their website with a list of much-needed supplies or a digital donation option.
For the most part, shelters need:
- Dog and cat foods
- High-quality treats, chews, and catnip
- Pet toys
- Milk supplement for orphaned puppies and kittens
- Towels, sheets, and clean-up supplies
- Leashes and collars
- Food and water bowls
- Pet beds for foster pets
6. Educate Those Around You
You have the ability to multiply your impact by educating others about animal cruelty and ways to help. When you share or repost an article like this one, you can educate others and motivate them to get involved.
Throughout the year, share posts about your local shelter, organizations that make a difference for pets, and articles that can help others recognize pets in need of human intervention.
7. Encourage Pet Adoption
While many pet breeders offer top-notch treatment to their pets, puppy mills still exist. Additionally, when a person chooses to adopt from a shelter rather than buy a dog or cat, they are creating more open spaces within the shelter for more animals in need. If you’re looking to expand your pet family, go past the shelter, first. For those looking for a specific breed, consider looking into a breed-specific rescue.
You can also use your social media as a platform to encourage adoption by posting pictures and stories about your rescue pet.
Adoption makes puppy mills less lucrative. It also saves lives.
8. Purchase Cruelty-Free and Sustainable Products
When shopping, opt for products that use cruelty-free testing methods. Many cosmetic products are still tested on animals. These animals never get to experience the joy of a loving family. Companies that donate to animal-advocate organizations and use sustainable methods are also excellent ways to protect animals.
How do eco-friendly methods protect animals? Environmentally ethical practices protect ecosystems and spaces where people and their pets can enjoy the outdoors.
9. Be the Best Pet Owner and Set an Example
Setting an example is one of the easiest ways to reduce cruelty to animals. Walk your dog. Provide your cat with enrichment. Feed your pet a well-rounded diet. These are all great ways to show others the value of a pet’s happiness and health.
Get Involved. Make a Difference.
As animal advocates, we have the ability to make a difference for pets, the environment, and other people. We hope you will be inspired to step up and step in when it comes to reducing animal cruelty. And while April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month, helping pets is a year-long effort.
Want to learn more about how Natural Farm is doing our part to make a difference? Read more about our charity efforts.