How we fight against cruelty and neglect

May 7, 2019

By Jenny Anderson

Special to Today’s news-Herald

Sometimes animal cruelty or neglect can be right under our nose, yet we don’t recognize it. Although we aren’t as trained as animal welfare advocates, we can certainly learn to spot the more obvious signs of cruelty and neglect.

For example, when we hear a neighbor dog’s incessant and prolonged barking, it may be a sign of distress.

Perhaps the dog has tipped over its water or doesn’t have enough shade. If we are unable see what the situation is or contact the neighbor, we can always call Animal Control to make a welfare check on this animal.

Important reminder: animals do not fare well in hot cars. When temperatures outside are just comfortably warm (the 70’s), it can be blazing hot inside a vehicle. It is our responsibility to help any animal (or child) experiencing distress while left inside a hot vehicle. This is one of the most common types of neglect seen in this part of the country---the Arizona sun can be lethal. It is also illegal to leave an animal in those circumstances. Some other telltale signs of neglect include: untreated medical issues or injuries, a matted and dirty coat, limping, or an emaciated appearance.

Sometimes animals are subjected to living conditions that are unhealthy and unsafe. A prime example is when dogs are subjected to dog fighting, either as a fighter or as a “bait dog”.

The ASPCA asks us to watch for a number of indicators for dog fighting.

· Appearance of being underfed

· Open wounds

· Cropped ears and docked tail (limiting areas where another dog can grab onto in a fight)

· Scars around the face, neck, haunches and feet or torn lips

· Many dogs chained by makeshift kennels

· Animals penned in secluded areas

· Signs of distress, such as whining

Another type of abuse is using animals for profit through repeated breeding. These dogs often live in squalid conditions and seldom receive the medical care they need. When the dog can no longer produce litters, it is often cast off.

When we observe any of these situations, we should document as much as is feasible and report it as soon as possible to the police animal control or the Western Arizona Humane Society. Mistreatment of animals is a serious offense and should not be tolerated. People who abuse animals should face the consequences. It doesn’t matter if they deliberately hurt them or if they neglect them---animals depend upon us! We can all do our part to prevent neglect and abuse.

Great news: the new facility will be completely open in just a couple weeks. At this time the animal intake and medical clinics are now housed in the new building. There is special pricing on adoptions to facilitate the final move. Watch for updates on the official opening.

The Western Arizona Humane Society is open Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., with kennel hours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 855-5083 for details. To find lost pets, call 855-4111. View animals found at www.lhcpd.com.