Witnessing an animal cruelty or seeing an animal that has obviously been abused or neglected is gut-wrenching. You want to help that animal now, but you may also feel paralyzed, not knowing exactly what to do at the given moment. Confronting an angry owner is not the wisest choice. It’s been well established that people who hurt animals will also hurt people.
So what do you do? Take specific mental notes always helps. But who do you call, local police or animal welfare agency? And how do you ensure that the abuser doesn’t get away with his/her abuse, or even worse, that the animal doesn’t endure worse treatment. How do you make sure that the animal gets immediate care?
Reporting animal cruelty is vital because they cannot help themselves; it is our duty to step in. Read these 10 tips for reporting animal cruelty courtesy of one the largest animal welfare agencies, the ASPCA:
A must-read for animal lovers 1 of 11
Get the facts 2 of 11
Write it down 3 of 11
When you know who to contact, provide a concise, written, factual statement of what you observed, giving dates and approximate times whenever possible.
Image: Flickr/ BlackyShimSham
Take photos 4 of 11
If at all feasible, try to photograph the abusive situation and date your pictures.
Image: Flickr/ Colin P Murphy
Talk to others 5 of 11
It would also be helpful to get short, factual written statements from other witnesses.
Keep records 6 of 11
When you call to report animal cruelty, always make sure to keep a careful record of exactly whom you contact, the date of the contacts and the content and outcome of your discussion.
Image: Flickr/Okan ATLI
Back up matters 7 of 11
Never give away a document without making a copy for your file!
Image: Flickr/ Scott Beveridge
Stay in touch 8 of 11
Make it clear to the agent that you are very interested in pursuing the case, and that you are willing to lend whatever assistance you can.
Follow up 9 of 11
If you don't receive a response from the officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, don't be afraid to present your information to his or her supervisor and, if necessary, to local government officials, such as the county commissioner, and ask them to act.
Get a warrant 10 of 11
If you have witnessed the cruel act yourself, you can go to your local police commissioner and ask to swear out a warrant to summon the accused person to court.
Expert witnesses are vital 11 of 11
Remember that expert witnesses are sometimes necessary in animal cruelty cases. A veterinarian, for example, can sign a statement that it is his or her "expert opinion" that a dog suffers when hit with a chain, is deprived of food, etc. Expert opinions will very often make or break a case, so if you happen to know a sympathetic veterinarian, you may wish to seek his or her assistance and tell the officer that you have expert support lined up for your case.
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