Being Aware of Animal Abuse

Recent animal abuse arrests in Iowa bring to light an issue that isn’t thought of as a major problem. In March, a Cedar Rapids woman was arrested for 35 counts of animal abuse and two counts of unsanitary conditions when 32 dogs, two cats and one parrot were rescued from her home. More recently, an Ottumwa woman was arrested for leaving eight puppies and two Labrador Retrievers in an Urbandale motel room without proper care. Animal abuse can’t be stopped until the public is aware of it. There were 1,002 animal abuses cases reported nationwide in 2010. Fourteen of those were in Iowa. Even though this may not seem like a lot, animal abuse is not something to be taken lightly. Animals deserve the necessities of life like any living creature does, and a loving home. According to GEVHA, an international anti-animal abuse organization, dogs and cats are involved in the majority of reported animal abuses cases, totaling to 82.5% of the reported abuse cases in 2007 in the United States. Reporting an abused animal to an animal shelter gives the animal the chance of having a better life. Some physical signs of abuse are open wounds or signs of several healed wounds. Inability to walk or stand, thinness, matted or flea invested fur and other skin conditions are also warning signs. Environment can also be a clue to whether an animal is being abused or neglected. Dog tethering and chaining are some of the most common ways owners abuse their canines. Dogs tied up outside without enough food and water, shelter or the area has trash and other harmful or unsanitary objects, are in danger are are abused or neglected. If an animal is in too small of a cage to move naturally then this can harm them as well. When continuously left outside,in these conditions, dogs may become lonely and fearful, which leads to unhappy, anxious, and aggressive behavior. Less well-known than dog abuse is cat abuse. Though negligence plays a big part in most cases, torturing cats for “fun” is common as well. In some areas, people have to be careful to keep their cats inside on Halloween because of people who go around and kill cats that night for fun. There have been several reported cases last year of people burning, shooting or beating cats. The consequences in Iowa for animal abuse are up to five years in prison with a maximum fine of $75,000. Four states in the U.S. don’t even have felony provisions for animal cruelty. This leaves many animals unprotected and allows their abusers to continue to hurt them. Even though the animals in those states are out of our reach, students can help the animals in our area. However, only people who are eighteen years and older can volunteer at an animal shelter. If you are in a position to help, think about calling a local animal shelter and volunteering some of your time. For students who aren’t old enough, there are many ways to help rescued animals get back on all four feet. An easy way is donating supplies like old blankets, food bowls, toys and leashes to animal shelters like those in Ames. Being aware of the signs of abuse and volunteering at animal shelters gives abused animals a second chance at living a better life. Why should animals be deprived of the right to happiness when we believe so much in it?