Like children, animals are innocent and depend on us for their well-being and protection. Animals give us so much – they are our companions and protectors, they serve us in the military and act as our eyes when we lose our sight. Animals are healers – they visit us in the hospital and sit by our side when we are sad. They wait patiently for us to come home and greet us happily – it doesn’t matter if we’ve been gone for five minutes or five hours.
In the United States alone, approximately four million cats and dogs are euthanized annually in our shelters. Millions more live their lives in the streets, and countless others suffer abuse by humans. Fortunately, animal abuse is now a crime in all states, and a felony crime in 46 states. Finally, these innocent beings have some protection. But in spite of these legal protections, too many cases of animal abuse go unreported. Abuse is not limited to domestic animals. Farm animals, horses, and circus animals suffer as well.
This April, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is sponsoring Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. The ASPCA has been fighting to protect animals for nearly 150 years. This will be the fifth annual event, which began as an adoption event in New York City and has grown into a nationwide observance of our love and appreciation for animals, and the progress we’ve made in protecting our non-human friends.
While every month should be prevention of cruelty month, holding a special event puts a national focus on the issue, reminding us that there is still work to be done to improve conditions for animals in our country. This year’s celebration is named “Go Orange for Animals”, and the goal is to raise awareness of animal abuse and what we can do about it.
Here’s how you can help: The ASPCA is asking people to wear the color orange to promote support for this important cause. You can post the “Animal Guardian Ribbon” on your Facebook page in April. Become an ASPCA ambassador and promote prevention of cruelty in your neighborhood by running a bake sale and donating funds to your local animal shelter. Write to your local newspaper or radio station asking them to publicize your event. Fight for animal rights by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. You will receive emails requesting you to encourage lawmakers to pass animal protection legislation. Adopt a homeless animal. Support a local animal shelter by volunteering or making a monetary donation. And most important, report cases of abuse to your local animal control, local animal shelter, or the Humane Society.
If you witness the mistreatment of an animal or if they are left chained outside without proper shelter or food and water, report it. If you see an emaciated animal in someone’s care, or suspect someone is hoarding animals, report it. Document all the information you can, and report it. The animals need us to speak for them. You can prevent further suffering and save a life.
Photo: Courtesy of andreaarden via Flickr (CC by 2.0)