While it is easy for people to say that they are against animal cruelty – no one is for animal cruelty after all – most people do not do anything to help prevent animal abuse. Animals deserve to be treated well by their owners, but some people simply are not clear on how they should be taking care of their pets. Actual abuse of animals is not as common as ignorance, but thanks to modern laws and awareness campaigns, it is becoming a more known and recognized situation.
Dogs are the biggest victims of animal abuse in the United States, likely because of the large number of people who own them. They account for roughly half of the cases of animal abuse reported by the media. Dog fighting is illegal in the United States, and tends to be reported when discovered, and because of some high profile dog fighting cases in recent history, people are more aware of this problem as well. This does not mean other animals deserve less attention though. Cats account for roughly a quarter of reports, leaving other animals to make up the other quarter.
Animal neglect can be every bit as harmful to animals as violence towards them can be. It is illegal in many states to keep an animal chained up all the time, which makes sense, as a dog should not be left outside at all times anyway. Malnutrition and a dirty living environment will affect any animal negatively and quickly, and are all classified as animal abuse as well.
Part of the reason that animals are treated poorly is that there are simply so many of them. Animal shelters make a habit of spaying or neutering any animal that comes in, yet only about ten percent of the animals they receive have had the procedure done. This leads to more generations of animals, and since an unwanted animal is much more likely to be treated poorly, it leads to more cases of abuse as well. It is always recommended to neuter your pet.
Animal abuse also seems linked to domestic violence as well. A nationwide study in 2007 revealed about three quarters of animal owners that were abused by their spouses also saw their pets targeted. This clear link makes for a strong case that, if domestic violence is suspected, animal abuse probably should be too.
Forty seven states in the United States list animal abuse as a felony. Back in the mid-1980s only four states did. This is a clear sign that kindness to animals is being worked into our legal system as a requirement when dealing with pets. We can all easily be against animal cruelty, but reversing these statistics takes more work – work that we should all be willing to partake in.