http://www.aspca.org/news/national/03-27-09.html#1 - 3.28.09 | Issues: Animal Cruelty
April kicks off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month - but you can't fight cruelty if you don't know what it looks like. Recognizing signs of abuse is simple, right? Not quite, say ASPCA experts. Many people interpret an animal's aggression, fear or timidity as a surefire clue that the animal has suffered cruelty-but looking solely at a pet's behavior doesn't tell the whole story.
"It's almost impossible to make conclusions based on a pet's behavior alone," says the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center's Kristen Collins, CPDT. "The best way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to observe his body and the surrounding environment."
ASPCA Special Agent Kristi Adams agrees. "The clues I look for when investigating a scene," says Adams, "are whether the animal is being provided with adequate food, water and shelter, and whether he or she appears injured or sick."
Check out ASPCA's complete list of telltale signs that an animal needs help.
Here's a sneak peek at some physical and environmental signs of animal abuse:
If you suspect an animal is being abused, don't keep it to yourself-report it to your local authorities. "Reporting suspected animal cruelty ensures that animals in jeopardy receive prompt and often lifesaving care," says ASPCA Supervisory Special Investigator Annemarie Lucas. "By making a complaint to the police or humane society in your area-which you can do anonymously-you help ensure that animals in need are rescued and that perpetrators of animal cruelty are brought to justice."
Click here to read the ASPCA article about how to tell if an animal has been abused.