Animal Cruelty: Deliberate Deed or Uneducated Owners?

18 10 2010

In light of the recent rash of animal abuse/cruelty/neglect cases in current events, it’s time to step forward. The only way to truly make a difference and put an end to this senseless harming of animals is to educate the public. Creating a heightened awareness of the problem can bring an end to all forms of animal abuse and cruelty – including dog fighting.

Some will argue that animal cruelty can be an unintentional harm to an animal as a result of being an uneducated in responsible pet ownership; while others will say absolutely not – ALL animal cruelty is intentional and should be punished to the strictest extent of the law. We invite you to read on and share your thoughts and comments.

The term “animal cruelty” can be used to define a wide range of behaviors that can cause harm to an animal. According to Dr. Andrew Rowan, animal cruelty can be broken down into four categories: cruelty, abuse, neglect and use. Dr. Rowan goes on to define each as follows:

  • Cruelty: occurs when a person’s motivation for causing animal suffering is to gain pleasure or satisfaction. Acts of cruelty are deliberate and often premeditated, or planned.
  • Abuse: Abuse occurs when someone causes an animal to suffer as a way of achieving dominance or a behavioral response. That individual does not necessarily enjoy harming animals for harm’s sake. Rather, he or she is trying to demonstrate power over an animal or to control an animal’s actions.
  • Neglect: occurs when people fail to provide their animals with proper shelter, food, water, attention, grooming, or veterinary care.
  • Use: of animals for profit or other personal gain sometimes results in suffering.
Why Abuse Animals?

As we mentioned earlier, there are seemingly two groups of people: those who unintentionally harm animals because they haven’t properly been educated on animal care and then there are those who intentionally harm animals over a period of time.

The first group – those who seem to harm animals unintentionally do so by engaging in behavior they don’t think is cruel. For example, not changing the water in the water dish regularly, leaving your dog in the car on a hot day with the windows rolled up, or by taking in more animals than they can handle. These are called hoarders, but this is a post for another day.

The second group – those how harm animals intentionally are usually young people and don’t think about their actions or the consequesnces of those actions. These actions may include throwing rocks at an active bird nest or kicking animal because they are angry.

There is a third group of animal abusers. Those who are bent on harming an animal for sheer enjoyment and/or to feel powerful. These people may enjoy pain and violence and others may suffer from severe psychological issues.

The last two groups of animal abusers especially need to be addressed. Statistics show that those classified in these two groups go on to exhibit much worse behavior – often times turning their aggression and enjoyment of hurting and controlling others on to humans.

Animal abuse, cruelty and neglect is often difficult to prosecute. Why? Because the animals can’t speak for themselves. While it’s true that there are laws that address these issues, few are treated as felonies and even fewer are truly enforced to the fullest extent of the law. Anticruelty laws can’t be upheld without everyone’s involvment – including law enforcement and legislative officials.

You may think that as a private citizen there isn’t much you can do. You couldn’t be further from the truth – there is PLENTY you can do! Encourage awareness in your community, volunteer at your local animal shelters and offer to help educate future adopters, report violence when you see it.

Working together, we can make a difference. Whether it’s educating pet owners so that unintentional acts aren’t committed, or lobbying for tougher laws, stiffer penalties and mandatory minimum sentences. Take a stand – make a difference – be the voice for the voiceless!

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2 responses

22 10 2010
maps4pets

We are currently looking at ways we can communicate better with animal rescue and canine shelters etc worldwide via our Social Media account http://twitter.com/maps4pets

We have launched an affiliation programme that is ideally suited for the internet and easy for charities to implement on their website with no cost to them nor any storage problems: http://www.maps4pets.com/members.asp

Please let us know what you think.

22 10 2010
maps4pets

Catch up with you all later I hope on Twitter.

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