When It Comes to Stopping Animal Cruelty, It’s Good to Be Nosy

Signs of Animal Cruelty

  • Animals that shrink or cower from contact
  • Animals left exposed in severe weather
  • Emaciation
  • Limping
  • Untreated wounds
  • Missing hair or fur
  • Dirty or confined quarters
  • Strong odors and lack of sanitation
  • Chained and infrequently exercised animals

Recognizing Cruelty and Taking Action
Hitting defenseless animals, keeping them chained without exercise or leaving them exposed in severe weather all count as abuse. Mistreating animals can (and often does) escalate into domestic assault. Studies have shown a link between violence toward animals and violence toward spouses, children and elders. If you witness an animal in imminent danger, dial 911. Police will respond. You can choose to remain anonymous, or by identifying yourself, you can help in future prosecution.

When It Comes to Stopping Animal Cruelty, It’s Good to Be Nosy

Hoarding occurs when someone possesses multiple animals without providing adequate food, care and sanitation. Hoarders often fail to understand the consequences of their actions and may exhibit signs of mental illness. Reporting hoarding can be a first step toward getting that individual into new or additional treatment. Call your local animal control officer or police department. Those agencies have the power to remove the animals or take corrective action, and they’ll involve social services if necessary.

Neglect is the most common form of cruelty, and it’s on the rise. As more Americans struggle with financial difficulty, many pets are put at risk of starvation, abandonment and death. The horses that Lynn observed in Vermont were victimized, in part, because of their owner’s financial situation.

Neglected animals may belong to neighbors you’ve known for years. They may try to hide the neglect due to embarrassment. You can try intervening yourself, or if you’re concerned about your neighbor’s reaction, many states and locations have set up tip lines and email addresses allowing you to call, text or email an anonymous report.

What Happens After You Report?
Most animal control officers view seizure and criminal charges as a last resort. Generally, officials or volunteers will attempt to educate the owner and provide that person with alternatives. If charges are brought, animal cruelty can range from a misdemeanor to a felony in certain cases.

Unfortunately, most states don’t have the resources to investigate and prosecute all incidents fully. You may have to follow up on your original complaint to make sure action was taken. Email your state legislators, and let them know that animal cruelty is a serious issue. It’s going to take persistent action to strengthen ordinances, laws and enforcement.

Nonprofit and volunteer organizations are on the front lines and under financial pressure as more and more animals arrive in their care. Look for rescue societies, shelters and community resources in your area, and volunteer or donate. Many nonprofit groups coordinate with authorities on cruelty issues. You may be able to report incidents through them.

Lynn is still keeping an eye on those horses. When people like you and Lynn stay observant and have the courage to act, it can make a huge difference (and nobody is going to call you nosy).

For more reading and local resources, visit the following URLs: www.aspca.org/ andwww.humanesociety.org/.

Be Prepared to Act

  • Call 911 if you’re an eyewitness to abusive behavior.
  • Familiarize yourself with animal cruelty statutes in your state. An associated URL is www.aspca.org/Fight-Animal-Cruelty/Advocacy-Center/state-animal-cruelty-laws.aspx.
  • Contact your town administrative offices or local law enforcement to determine your appropriate point of contact for animal cruelty complaints.
  • Decide if you feel comfortable talking to an owner if you suspect neglect.
  • Contact your animal control officer to report suspected abuse, neglect or hoarding.
  • Search for local tip lines to call, text or email incidents anonymously.
  • Report online videos or images of animal abuse to your FBI branch office. An associated URL is www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field/field-offices.
  • Support local shelters, rescue and rehabilitation groups, and community organizations.
  • Contact your legislators, and tell them to support strong animal welfare laws and enforcement.

Pet Facts

Your Pet and Human Drugs

Thinking about giving your pet an aspirin to ease its pain? Think again! Human painkillers including ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen can be dangerous and even deadly to animals. Though acetaminophen can ease a human tension headache, one tablet of 500 mg extra strength acetaminophen can kill a 7-pound cat. Human medications are not designed for the animal body, and can have deadly effects when given to pets. Veterinarians can help prescribe the right dose and type of medication for your pet when it is in pain. Visit HealthyPet.com to find an accredited veterinarian near you.

When Your Cat Vomits

It’s the moment a cat owner dreads: being jolted awake in the middle of the night by that awful sound of retching. And while you fumble for the light switch, your favorite feline deposits a hairball on your pillow.

As much as we love them, cats vomit, even hairless breeds. Hairballs are a common culprit. But vomiting can also be a sign of a potentially serious medical problem.

So when should you be concerned?

AAHA-Accredited Practices Keeping Up to Date

If you watch television, you know how many ads there are for new medications, treatment options and research being conducted to help people and pets stay healthy. How do veterinarians and their staffs keep up with all this information?

Veterinary professionals are usually required to accumulate continuing education credits every 1–2 years. Many veterinary hospitals employ Certified Veterinary Practice Managers (CVPMs), who are also required to get CE credits to maintain their credentialed status. The AAHA Standards of Accreditation recommend more CE hours than many state veterinary medical boards require.

Periodontal Disease in Dogs

More than 85% of dogs over 4 years of age have evidence of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a progressive inflammation of the supporting structures surrounding the teeth and is the main cause of early tooth loss.

Toy breeds are at higher risk for periodontal disease because of tooth crowding in the mouth.

How to Exercise Your Dog in Winter

My chow chow, Nani, is covered in long, orange fur. I’m not. Children often stop Nani and me on the street to remark on how fluffy she is. No one has ever commented on my fur.

Now, abundant body hair on a human is normally a bad thing, but on below-zero days, I find myself staring enviously at Nani. A quick glance at her thick coat is also a reminder that my canine companion is ready and willing to brave the elements, even if I’m not.

So, on cold winter days, how do I give Nani the exercise she needs without making myself miserable?

Project: Pet Slim Down Helps People and Their Dogs Lose Weight

Project: Pet Slim Down Helps People and Their Dogs Lose Weight











Nestle, the world’s largest food company, discovered that more than 50 percent of pets in the U.S. are overweight.

So to encourage pet parents and their dogs to lose weight, Nestle is launching Project: Pet Slim Down.

This is an online program where pet parents can sign up to obtain tips for exercising with their pet, record their amount of exercise, track weight loss and share photos with other users.

The website is also tracking the journey of five overweight cats and three dogs as they try to shed the extra pounds.

Not sure if your dog is overweight? See HOW TO Help Your Obese Dog Get in Shape for ways to check for obesity.

Remember, an overweight dog is more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, so be sure to check for the symptoms, avoid overfeeding your dog and exercise him regularly.

To sign up, visit the Project: Pet Slim Down website.

Should Your Insure Your Pets?


Should Your Insure Your Pets?


All pet owners must decide whether or not to buy health insurance for their animals. While we all love and care for our pets, there are many different philosophies when it comes to insurance. For some, the idea of not having pet insurance is appalling. Some may find it more prudent to simply put money aside for any pet-related medical expenses and pay out of pocket if necessary. Other may wish to buy pet insurance, but with money being so tight, it can be hard to rationalize the expense, especially for those who don’t even have health insurance for themselves.

Lifehacker tackles the questions of pet insurance in a column, “Is Pet Insurance Worth It?” Their ultimate answer to that question is essentially this: Maybe. It depends.

“Even if your pet does have a major surgery, say $4,000 once in its lifetime, you will still be breaking even in a best case scenario,” Lifehacker says. “Pet insurance is geared more toward people who don’t want to set up a separate fund to cover health costs, or who want the peace of mind that comes from insurance.”

If you’ve been wrestling with with this issue lately, read Lifehacker’s post. It tells you what insurance will and won’t cover; how to go about choosing the right insurance; and, if insurance isn’t right for you and your pet, what your other options may be.

Restraining Pets in Motor Vehicles Can Save Lives


The highways will soon be packed with holiday travelers. If you’re hitting the not-so-open road with your pets in tow, Pet Sitters International offers these pet travel tips to help ensure the entire family gets to enjoy Labor Day weekend.


Jenny Pavlovic, engineer and author of The Not Without My Dog Resource and Record Book, said that the most important thing a pet owner can do is restrain pets when traveling in a motor vehicle.


“Restraining pets keeps them from interfering with the driver and keeps them safe in the event of sudden braking or impact,” Pavlovic said.


She also stressed that it is equally important for pets not to travel in the front seat or sit on a passenger’s lap.


“A pet could get crushed by an air bag or the body of a passenger upon impact if sitting in the front seat or on a lap,” Pavlovic said.


Restraining a pet at all times is generally a good idea for pet owners, especially since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 1.5 million automobile crashes are caused each year by distracted drivers.


Unrestrained pets, just like unrestrained people and items, can pose a serious threat to the driver and other passengers.


According to Pet Safety Lady, Christina Selter, a 60-pound unrestrained dog in a vehicle traveling 35 mph can cause an impact of 2,700 pounds when slamming into a car seat, windshield or passenger.


Secured travel is the best way to ensure safety. Pavlovic believes that a secured travel kennel is the best way to restrain dogs, but a harness that attaches to the seat belt works well for medium to large dogs.


“The harness should be designed to safely distribute pressure across the dog’s body in a way that will not harm the dog,” Pavlovic said. “Never restrain a dog by the neck while traveling in a moving vehicle, as this could lead to strangulation.”


It’s also important to note that travel can be disorienting and frightening for some pets. Because of this, Pavlovic suggests that pet owners teach their dog to wait when the car or crate door is opened.


“This can be done by offering your pet a treat while you put their leash on,” Pavlovic said. “Do this consistently to get your pet in the habit of waiting and not bolting out of the vehicle.”


Pavlovic also suggested a few proactive measures that pet owners can take before hitting the road:

  • While traveling, put a note on your pet’s travel kennel with information about your pet, as well as what to do and who to contact if something happens to you.
  • While traveling away from home, use a harness or martingale collar that the dog or cat won’t slip out of.
  • Make sure your pet has proper identification, including a collar with ID tags and a microchip that has been properly registered with the microchip company. Make sure the ID tag has a phone number where you can be reached while traveling.