The Effects Of Animal Cruelty
Have you ever heard the phrase “a dog is a man’s best friend?” For most Americans, that statement is true. Yet, there are still millions of people abusing animals every day. On average, there are roughly 1,920 reported animal abuse cases each year, not including the many cases that go unreported. Animal cruelty is not a new thing; it’s been around since the beginning of time.
When people think about animal cruelty, the first animal to pop in their head is usually a dog. For example, owners beating their dogs when they bark too much, a dog being forced to fight another dog, or having to sit outside in the cold overnight with no food or water. Actually, only 5% of animal cruelty cases involve dogs (Rauch, R., 2015). The number of animal cruelty cases reported daily are only a small percentage; many cases go unreported. Unlike crimes with humans, state and federal agencies aren’t in charge of animal cruelty cases, which makes it difficult to have an exact number (Humane Society, 2017). There are many different forms of animal cruelty. The most common type is neglect and abandonment. Other leading causes are shooting, beating, hoarding, fighting, and even stabbing and burning. These are most common with household pets (Animal Sake, 2017).
According to the Animal Rescue League of Boston, howling, barking, chronically dirty fur, animals kept in cages or tied up for long periods of time, and overly tight collars or muzzles, are signs of animal neglect that we should look out for. For centuries, chaining up animals was an okay thing. Animals would be kept on tethers or chains for long periods of time, but in today’s society, it can be considered cruel. Many states require that the dog can access food, water, and shelter while they’re on the tether. Some states require that the tether is three times the length of the dog and is attached to a non-choke collar designed for tethering. In Michigan and Indiana, the penalty for a pet owner, for tethering just one dog improperly, is 93 days in prison and/or $1,000 fine (misdemeanor). Tethering 10 or more animals improperly can result in 4 years in prison and a $5,000 fine (felony) (Wisch, R. 2017).
As we all know, electric shock collars are a way to control animals to behave or to not run away, but the collars tend to be misused in various ways. Owners have the ability to push a button on a remote to shock their pets when they misbehave, however, some pet owners shock their pets just for a good laugh. Children can also get ahold of the remotes and accidentally hurt the pets. The collars can cause burns, brain damage, seizures, anxiety, and/or even death to pets (Todd, Z. 2012). In some cases, collars have become faulty and harmed pets without even any human interaction.Animals are capable of the same feelings a human can have. Therefore, animals should be treated with the same level of respect as humans. Animals are forced into tests and experiments, that are usually painful or could result in permanent damage or death, without a choice. Animals cannot speak for themselves, so, therefore, we as humans, need to speak for them.Animal testing is a growing problem in the United States and is categorized as animal cruelty. There are about 1,000,000 animals killed in US laboratories every year due to testing (Statistic Brain, 2017). These innocent animals are locked up in cages in labs across the country, right now. They live a life filled with loneliness and pain, just longing to be free. The sad truth is that they will probably never be free.When a person thinks about animal testing, they usually don’t think of dogs being tested on. Actually, 70,000-75,000 dogs are used for research in the U.S. each year, with the majority being Beagles.
The Beagle Freedom Program is helping save animals’ lives by negotiating with laboratories around the world to release dogs and other animals, to give them a chance at a normal life after everything they have gone through in the labs.Nelly was a beagle who was rehomed by the Beagle Freedom Project. She was used for years as a laboratory test-tube. She was mutilated, sold, abandoned, shot, and finally left to die with two other dead beagles in a locked crate on the side of an abandoned road in Florida. When she was found, her rescuer found a tumor growing next to her back leg. In the end, Nelly found a forever home and was finally shown what love really is (Cronin, A. 2017). Not all stories like these have a happy ending. Animals are usually put down after they are no longer needed for testing.In reality, animal testing is a topic that people dismiss easily or look over. Cosmetic companies are testing on animals every day, and it’s not what most people think; they’re not just putting lipstick on dogs. Animal testing results in innocent animals being poisoned, burned, or even killed, in the name of science. It is still a bid debate whether or not animal testing should be illegal or not. In general, men and women tend to have different views on the topic. In a 2014 study, 60% of men were in favor for testing on animals, while on the other hand, only 35% of women are in favor of it (Funk, C. 2015).People that abuse animals, usually don’t stop there. It leads to abusing humans, as well.
A 1997 study by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University found that 70% of animal abusers had committed at least one other non-animal crime. They found that almost 40% committed crimes against people (PAWS, 2015). In domestic violence and child abuse scenarios, abusers can manipulate and control their human victims by threatening to harm or actually harm a family pet.Nida Intarapanich is a third-year veterinary student who studies veterinary forensic science at Cummings School. She has personally been involved in over 50 animal abuse cases in her time as a veterinarian. Intarapanich has observed that people who live in homes with domestic violence, are much more likely to be abusive to their pets. “Often an animal is a much more effective way for an abuser to control the people in their household than threatening them directly,” says Intarapanich. “Victims of domestic violence have said they’d rather be hurt than have their animals be hurt. An abuser can use a puppy or kitten to force the woman to stay, keep their kids quiet or make them otherwise do as they’re told.” It is pretty easy to tell the difference between an animal getting hurt on accident, and an animal that gets abused. Abused animals have a higher rate of head injuries and rib fractures. They can also sustain tooth fractures and claw damage (Rajewski, G. 2015).
There are two types of animal cruelty in the world: passive cruelty and active cruelty. Passive cruelty is a type of abuse that is commonly looked over. It is classified by cases of neglect, in which crime or intentional harm isn’t necessarily involved. However, don’t let the name fool you. Passive cruelty is animal neglect, and it can result in much pain and suffering to the animal, which could be mental pain or physical pain. “Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal's skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention” (Animal Cruelty, 2017).Active cruelty is abuse with the intent to harm an animal resulting in pain and suffering. It is sometimes referred to as NAI- Non-Accidental Injury (Animal Cruelty, 2017). It is an intentional act of cruelty and is the most disturbing type of abuse, for example, dogfighting. This type of behavior often involves sociopathic behavior and it should be taken seriously.Dogfighting is a rising problem in America. Some fights can have a bet of up to $100,000. When a dog loses, its owner loses money, which could cause the owner to take their anger out on the dog. Dogfighting is considered a felony in all fifty states, including the District of Columbia. Attending an animal fighting event is a federal crime (Animal Fighting, 2017).In a 2008 study, Florida was ranked the highest in the country for animal cruelty cases, including 204 dogfighting cases, 727 animal neglect cases, and 130 beating cases. (Animal Cruelty and Dogfighting National Statistics). Dogfighting is more common than most people think it is. It is estimated that 40,000 people, just in the United States, are involved in professional dogfighting.Dog fights are much more than a dogfighting another dog every week. When they are not fighting, they’re training. Dogs are trained from a very early age to develop what dogfighters call “gameness.” Training methods vary amongst different dogfighters.
The most common type of training is endurance training. Dogs are put on treadmills to increase their endurance. Another form of training is called “catmill” or sometimes called “jenny”. A catmill is a machine that is similar in looks to a carnival horse walker. Beams are attached to the outside of the catmill, sticking out from a rotating pole in the middle. The dogs are chained to one pole and, on the other pole, is a small animal like a cat, rabbit, or smaller dog. The small animal is harnessed or hung from the pole. The dogs run around in a circle, chasing their prey (Gibson, H. 2005). After they are done, the dogs are usually rewarded with the bait they were previously chasing. Dog fighters also put heavy chains around the dog’s necks. They do this to build upper body strength. This leaves the dogs bearing much weight around their necks, which causes lots of stress. Weights are often attached to the chains and hung from the dog’s necks. This is usually permanent for the dog, and they often have to train with the weights attached to them (Gibson, H. 2005). Dog fighters commonly drug their dogs to help them win fights.
The dogs are given vitamins, supplements, and other various drugs. The supplements that are usually given to the dogs are iron/liver extract, B-12 vitamin, Provim, Magnum supplement; hormones like testosterone, Propionate, Repotest, Probolic Oil, weight-gain supplements, creatine monohydrate, speed, steroids like Winstrol V, Dianabol, Equipoise, and even cocaine (Gibson, H. 2005). Most of these drugs are enough to kill a human, so giving these to a dog could give them lifelong side effects that could cut their life short, or potentially kill them soon after taking them.There are many companies that are fighting against animal cruelty like the examples discussed above. The ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has been fighting for over 150 years. The company was founded by Henry Bergh in 1866. He was a determined man who wanted to stop cruelty towards animals. In that time, treating animals like they were second class was socially acceptable.
So, he founded the ASPCA with the belief that all animals deserve to be treated respectfully and must be protected under the law (History of the ASPCA. 2016). Thanks to Bergh, the ASPCA is still playing a key role in sheltering pets around the country, and finding them forever homes, where they can live a safe and happy life without fear of being euthanized.The ASPCA has made numerous heart wrenching commercials about abused animals, that ask for your support by giving them money every month. Many people ask the question, “Where is my money really going?” If you live in Michigan, for example, and you donate money to the toll-free number shown on the commercial, your money is probably not going to your local animal shelter, it could be going to a random shelter out in New York. In the end, your money is still going towards helping save animals’ lives (CBS- Los Angeles. 2011). There are many different ways you can personally help a pet in need, and know for sure that you’re making a difference. Pet adoption is a great way to do this. Approximate tely 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year in the U.S. About 1.5 million of these animals are killed each year, and only 3.2 million are adopted (Pet Statistics). That leaves 1.8 million animals not adopted.In big cities like New York, animal control is always out looking for stray cats and dogs.
When they are caught, they are sent to the pound. After being settled into their cage, by law, they have at least 72 hours to be claimed by their rightful owner or adopted or else they are euthanized. Euthanization isn’t as nice and easy as just “putting the pet to sleep.”First, the cat or dog is taken from its cage on a leash. They’re probably happy thinking it’s going for a walk. They are then led to “The Room” where the animal is restrained, being held down by one or more vet techs, depending on the size of the animal or how scared they are. A euthanasia tech will start the process by finding a vein in the front leg and then injecting a lethal dose of the “pink stuff”. If the pet panics and jerks its leg, the needles could tear out of the leg resulting in a bloody mess, followed by whimpers and screams.
After the “pink stuff” sets in, they don’t always die instantly. Sometimes they spasm for a few minutes, gasping for their last breath of air and discharge feces on themselves (Sunshine, O. 2011). The overpopulation of pets has become an overwhelming problem, and sadly, the only way to solve it is by reducing the population. According to the Humane Society, 2.4 million cats and dogs are killed every year (Hunt, H. 2017); that averages to an animal dying every 13 seconds.Animal hoarding is a type of animal cruelty where a person usually not intending on harming animals. It is a complex issue that can encompass mental illness. It is considered abuse when the individual is unable to provide the minimal standards of nutrition, sanitation, shelter and veterinary care. (A Closer Look at Animal Hoarding. 2015).