Earlier this year, it was reported that animal cruelty is now a felony in all 50 states. It’s a win for animals as well as people. Statistics have shown that many of those who engage in criminal activity of all kinds also abuse animals, too. With the new laws in place, law enforcement can better track and maintain records of those who abuse animals – and potentially prevent other crimes from happening.
But that doesn’t mean that laws will always be automatically enforced. In many cases, animal abusers are given lighter sentences and repercussions rather than the stricter penalties intended to help protect animals and people. Some abusers have walked away without any penalty. Others have been given the minimal fines and other repercussions. Many are allowed to own – and abuse – animals again even with a prior charge of cruelty. Though the laws are better than ever, enforcement is also an important part to ensuring animals are kept safe. That’s where animal lovers and pet owners can help. Here’s how:
Stay Alert. Pay close attention to animal abuse cases locally, nationally and regionally. A great way to stay informed is by following animal rescues within your community as well as in other parts of the country. They’re often on the forefront of trying to ensure punishments are strictly enforced, help raise awareness, and coordinate petition and other efforts. Keep an eye on new legislation and regulations passed so that you’re always abreast of what is happening in your state and in the U.S.
“Keep an eye on new legislation and regulations passed so that you’re always abreast of what is happening in your state and in the U.S.”
Report Incidents. If you see or suspect an animal being abused or neglected, report it to your local police, and alert any local rescues or organizations as well. This can help the animal in two ways. First, the police can take action. But also, many rescues and shelters will stay diligent on ensuring law enforcement gets involved and stays involved until the animal is safe and individuals are prosecuted. You can stay in touch with these organizations ongoing for updates on the case, and the animal’s care.
Spread The Word. Help raise awareness of animal abuse cases around the country among your own social media following, local media, family and friends. The Internet has been a powerful platform for helping dogs, cats, and other animals of all kinds due to animal lovers lending a hand. By sharing the word and encouraging others to do the same, it can help ensure animal abusers are given the correct penalties for their crimes.
Visibility and attention can absolutely help animals in need, and that includes those involved in abuse and neglect cases of all types. Many major abuse incidents throughout the country resulted in strict enforcement of the laws because people were outraged and demanding justice. Keep a list of animal organizations at close hand, either followed on social media, saved to your bookmarks on your computer, or on a piece of paper at home so that you can be ready to help and act.
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We can all do our part to protect those who cannot protect themselves-please share your thoughts below.