Tag Archives: ASPCA

April is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

April is Animal Cruelty Prevention Month

This month we are happy to celebrate the prevention of animal cruelty. According to MSPCA.org, cruelty to animals is the infliction of physical pain, suffering or death upon an animal, when not necessary for purposes of training or discipline or (in the case of death) to procure food or to release the animal from incurable suffering, but done wantonly, for mere sport, for the indulgence of a cruel and vindictive temper, or with reckless indifference to its pain.

Facts and Statistics

Domestic Pets
Although there is no national reporting system for animal abuse, media reports suggest that it is common in rural and urban areas. However, according to pet-abuse.com, there are 19,262 known cases of animal abuse. In media-reported animal cruelty cases, dogs—and pit bull-type dogs, in particular—are the most common victims of animal cruelty.  Here are other stats as it appears on the HSUS site:

  • 64.5% (1,212) involved dogs
  • 18% (337) involved cats
  • 25% (470) involved other animals
  • Reported abuse against pit bull-type dogs appears to be on the rise: in 2000–2001, pit bull-type dogs were involved in 13% of reported dog-abuse cases; in 2007, they were involved in 25% of reported dog-abuse cases.
  • *some cases involved multiple species


  • According to the American Horse Council, Americans own more than 9 million horses, up from more than 6 million in the mid-1990s. Backyard breeding fueled the boom in pet horses. Of the more than 2 million Americans who own horses, more than one-third have a household income of less than $50,000.
  • Neither the total number of horse neglect cases nor the percentage of total animal abuse cases classified as horse neglect has risen since the closure of all U.S. horse slaughter plants.

As Humane Society of the United States investigations into slaughterhouses and cattle auctions have revealed, animal abuse abounds in the factory farm industry. Despite increased feed prices, they found no indication in the news media that the number of livestock neglect cases is increasing, other than a few shocking, high-profile cases. This may, however, simply be a reflection of the weak protections afforded to livestock under state animal cruelty laws.

What Can You Do

If you are looking for a furry companion, please consider adopting from your local animal shelter or community rescue organization. If you need help to get started, PetFinder.com is an excellent place to look for homeless pets. In addition, you can check out our list of Don’t Be Cruel partners who have wonderful pets in need.

If you can’t adopt, foster. Many animals are in need of temporary homes while finding a forever family.

Ask your local shelter if they need help. Remember, many places not only need people to physically take care of the shelter or animals but need people with certain skill sets like fundraising, marketing, public relations, etc. The more the public knows about adoptable pets, the better the chances are of finding them a home.

Shelters and rescue organizations depend on you to keep their mission going. Most of these places solely depend on donations. If you can’t donate money, please consider other types of donations like towels, blankets, food, toys, etc. Check a shelter’s website for a wish list or call ask about about it.

Many rescue organizations have farm animals that depend on monthly sponsors. If you are interested in helping large animals, consider sponsoring one. Rescues like Shiloh’s Horse Rescue in Nevada and For the Animals Sanctuary in New Jersey have wonderful animals in need of your help.

Spread the Word
The prevention month is officially through the ASPCA and they wear orange to show their unwavering decision on the matter. Encourage your friends to spread the word about the month-long ‘Go Orange’ campaign!

Shop our Don’t Be Cruel Store
Lastly, we want to remind you that for every purchase you make at our Don’t Be Cruel store, proceeds will go to local shelters and rescues. We are proud to say that in the past two years, we donated over $8,500.

Animal cruelty laws: Where does your state stand?

From The Justice Report with Joanne Eldridge

In mid-August 2012, the story of Missy, a German Shepherd-mix dog, captured the news and highlighted the issues of animal cruelty and the role of law enforcement in animal protection cases.

According to news reports, Missy was hiking with her owner in Clear Creek County, Colorado, when an approaching storm caused her owner to leave her on the mountain after she became unable to walk on her own. Missy was rescued several days later by other hikers and brought to safety.

Her owner was charged with animal cruelty for abandoning the dog. In Colorado, a charge of animal cruelty includes intentional abandonment of a dog or cat and is a Class 1 misdemeanor for a first offense.

Upon conviction, psychological evaluation and anger management counseling or other appropriate treatment at the offender’s expense are required.

Animal Cruelty as a Sign of Other Cruelty
Pets are more common than children in American households today.  According to a 2011-12 pet ownership survey, there are more than 78 million owned dogs and more than 86 million owned cats in the U.S.  Thirty-nine percent of households own at least one dog.

The benefits of pet ownership are many: companionship, reduced stress, improved mood, lowered blood pressure, increased exercise, and unconditional love. The human-animal bond can be incredibly strong.

Animal advocacy organizations work tirelessly on behalf of animals, including low-cost spay and neuter, disaster response, animal-assisted therapy, legislative and lobbying efforts, foster and shelter care, and more.

The first animal abuse laws in the United States were passed in New York with the establishment of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by Henry Bergh in 1866.

Although the initial focus was on protecting horses and livestock, over time the ASPCA began working more on behalf of cats and dogs to prevent dog fighting and animal cruelty.

Today all states have anti-cruelty laws, including felony-level penalties in nearly all states. Some states, like Colorado, have recognized pets as “protected animals” (since 2008) in civil and criminal protection orders, which authorizes judges to restrain parties from threatening, harming, or molesting them (see C.R.S. Sections 13-14-101, 102; 18-6-803.5).

Peace officers in some states may also take and impound animals that are victims of cruelty, aggravated cruelty, or animal fighting.

Sadly, reports of animal neglect and abuse are all too common. The implications of animal abuse are especially disturbing in light of the demonstrated link between animal abuse and family violence,including domestic violence.

One survey (DeViney, Dickert, & Lockwood, 1983) of pet-owning families who had cases of substantiated child abuse or neglect found that animals were abused in 88 percent of homes in which there was child physical abuse.

Domestic violence and child abusers may kill, harm or threaten animals to exert dominance and power over their victims and to show them what could happen to them. In this way, animal abuse silences domestic violence and sexual abuse victims, and prevents them from leaving violent relationships. Killing a family pet eliminates a source of comfort and support for the victim.

As the American Humane Association puts it, “Animal cruelty problems are people problems.  When animals are abused, people are at risk.”

What should peace officers do?

1.) Recognize Likely Offenders — One common theme is power and control of others, and law enforcement officers see it often and know what it is. Abusive partners will be more likely to abuse companion animals, and police officers are likely to be in a position to meet them in their homes and make observations.

Physically and psychologically abused children, particularly adolescent boys, may be at high risk to abuse animals after being victimized by a parent.

2.) Identify Animal Victims — They can’t speak and they may be confined to the house or yard. But they might have injuries that don’t fit the explanations given by their owners.

Their owners may show a disregard for their well-being. Abused animals may appear malnourished or they may be extremely timid or frightened in their owners’ presence. Be prepared to identify animals as protected parties if your state allows that.

3.) Make Appropriate Decisions — Be familiar with your state’s laws on animal cruelty. Charge those cases of animal neglect or abuse when the circumstances support it and work closely with your prosecutor to take such cases seriously.

Protecting Animals Elevates Us All
Albert Schweitzer once said, “We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”

Local governments may have ordinances against barking dogs or animals at large that you or your animal control officers can enforce for the safety and good of all.

Laws against animal cruelty exist to protect animals, and protecting them elevates us all.

Original story at: Animal cruelty laws: Where does your state stand?