April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month! During this month we take a stand for our furry friends who suffer as an effect of uneducated and heartless humans. We investigate ways to prevent animal cruelty related criminal activities like dog fighting and promote responsible pet care.
If we don’t fight for the helpless puppy with the broken tail or the deprived Pitbull on the pavement, who will? It’s up to us to make sure that all pets are treated with the love and respect they deserve.
Let’s consider a few important questions underpinning the basics of animal cruelty.
1. What is considered as animal cruelty?
According to the Animal Protection Act NO 71 of 1962 cruelty to animals are:
OFFENCES IN RESPECT OF ANIMALS – (1) Any person who:
(a )overloads, overdrives, overrides, ill-treats, neglects, infuriates, tortures or maims
or cruelly beats, kicks, goads or terrifies any animal; or
(b) confines, chains, tethers or secures any animal unnecessarily or under such
conditions or in such a manner or position as to cause that animal unnecessary
suffering or in any place which affords inadequate space, ventilation, light
protection or shelter from heat, cold or weather; or
(c) unnecessarily starves or under-feeds or denies water or food to any animal; or
(d) lays or exposes any poisoned fluid or edible matter or infectious agents except
for the destruction of vermin or marauding domestic animals or without taking
reasonable precautions to prevent injury or disease being caused to animals; or
(e) being the owner of any animal, deliberately or negligently keeps such animal in
a dirty or parasitic condition or allows it to become infected with external parasites
or fails to render or procure veterinary or other medical treatment or attention which
he is able to render or procure for any such animal in need of such treatment or
attention, whether through disease, injury, delivery of young or any other cause, or
fails to destroy or cause to be destroyed any such animal which is so seriously
injured or diseased or in such a physical condition that to prolong its life would be
cruel and would cause such animal unnecessary suffering.
2. What is the most common animal cruelty activity?
Dog fighting is one of the most common acts of animal cruelty. According to the NSPCA, dog fighting is a thriving and ever-growing criminal activity in South Africa supported by people from all walks of life and various backgrounds. Dog fights are not the work of a single law breaker but instead constitute a form of incredibly violent organised crime that is intricately linked to many other criminal activities. Children as young as 12 are being used to scout residential areas and steal powerful pedigree dogs who are then used for illegal dog fighting. That’s downright shocking and heart-breaking!
3. Can you go to prison for animal cruelty?
“While a number of the cruelty investigations are without foundation, the majority of cases are, and will lead to the inspectors educating the owners of the animals on responsible pet ownership and best practice to improve the situation for the animals. However, some investigations will lead to prosecutions in cases where there is severe or deliberate cruelty.”, says Carren Nickloes, Marketing Manager of The Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL).
4. How do you report someone for animal cruelty?
There are 2 ways to report animal cruelty to the AACL:
1. Visit their website here and complete a form.
2. Contact the AACL on 011 435 0672 during their working hours and speak to one of their inspectors.
“Please remember we require facts and 1st hand knowledge including dates, time, location of alleged incident to investigate a case of cruelty. Trying to investigate on hearsay wastes valuable resource.”, says Carren.
5. What steps need to be taken to prevent animal cruelty?
According to Carren, many cases of alleged animal cruelty, as defined in the Animal Protection Act No. 71 of 1962, are unfounded and all that is required is education on being a responsible pet owner. However, they will investigate whenever there is a concern for an animal’s wellbeing. Should a member of the public, for whatever reason, not be able to look after their pets any longer, they should hand them over to a reputable Animal Shelter, like the AACL, for rehoming.
It’s up to us as an animal-loving community to stop animal cruelty in its evil tracks and to educate ourselves and others on responsible pet ownership. It’s especially important to educate our young to be kind towards pets and teach them how to properly take care of the furry companions who share our homes.
Responsible pet ownership begins before a pet enters your home. The Western Cape Government provides the following guidelines on what to consider before adopting a pet:
• Will you have enough time during the day to spend with your pet?
• Are you financially capable of owning a pet?
• Do you often travel long distances for work?
• Does anyone in your home have allergies?
• Are your children capable of taking care of a pet?
• Is there an adequate amount of lawn for your pet?
• Are you willing to be there for your pet throughout his/her entire life? This could be approximately 15+ years depending on the pet.
Once you’ve set your mind on getting a pet there are a few things you should do to ensure that your pet has a healthy and happy life:
• Feed your pet a healthy diet.
• Ensure that your pet always has clean drinking water.
• Provide your pet with adequate shelter and a comfortable place to sleep.
• Give your pet regular exercise.
• Take your pet to the vet for routine check-ups. This will ensure that your furry family member remains healthy and doesn’t spread a disease to other pets.
Let’s join forces to help our vulnerable four-legged friends out!
Did you know?
If you quote and buy a pet policy online here, dotsure.co.za makes a contribution on your behalf towards the feeding of a shelter pet? By signing up for pet insurance, you’re not only being a responsible pet parent, but also a super caring human being for spreading the love to the less fortunate furry ones out there.