Animal cruelty is a hydra with numerous heads. Despite that, some are fighting the good fight. Just a short while ago, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa said that a woman named Jennifer Sproston from Rolfe, IA was charged with 34 counts of animal neglect. If you’re thinking that something horrible must’ve happened based on that, well, you’d be right. It seems that the Animal Rescue League of Iowa discovered a large group of cats that were left on their own in a home with neither food nor water nor cooling despite the sweltering conditions. Even more evidence of neglect can be seen in how the place was covered in feces, urine, and trash. The Animal Rescue League of Iowa discovered a total of 30 cats during their investigation. Subsequently, it has received another six cats as well as one dog. If there is one good thing that can be said about the case, it is that the animals are already recovering because of the care being given to them. Eight of the cats are already available for adoption. Those in Iowa who are thinking about getting a feline companion of their very own might want to look into these opportunities.
Why Did the Animal Rescue League of Iowa Take the Lead On the Case?
You might find it strange that the Animal Rescue League of Iowa investigated the case rather than, say, the local police. However, it turns out that this kind of thing isn’t uncommon. According to Dr. Kendra Coulter of Brock University, just 46 percent of the agencies that are responsible for enforcing animal cruelty laws in the United States are police. Presumably, that means that the remainder is handled by animal welfare organizations and the like. The two aren’t in conflict with one another. Oftentimes, the police are partners with animal welfare organizations. Dr. Coulter brought up the example of New York where the NYPD and the ASPCA work together on animal cruelty cases. NYPD officers are the ones on the frontline. Meanwhile, the ASPCA provides support, which is important because NYPD officers have a basic level of training in the relevant skills but no more than that. This means that ASPCA personnel are the ones who care for the animals, offer legal support, and handle the forensics of animal cruelty cases. They also step in when the circumstances don’t warrant the legal process. To name an example, the ASPCA does a lot of educational work for animal owners who need it as well as other interested individuals.
As for why this is the case, well, there are several reasons. In a lot of places, the police have limited resources. Their response is to prioritize, meaning that animal abuse, animal neglect, and other animal cruelty cases get less attention than other cases impacting humans. Given those conditions, animal welfare organizations have no choice but to step up if they want to see animal cruelty stopped. Elsewhere, the two work together so that their combined capabilities can make for a more comprehensive solution than otherwise possible. Like in New York, the police just don’t have the same kind of animal-related expertise, experience, and equipment that animal welfare organizations can bring to bear. Similarly, animal welfare organizations don’t have either the same enforcement powers or the same enforcement capabilities as the police. Together, they can address animal cruelty from more angles, thus making for more effective results.
Is There Anything that You Can Do to Help Out with Such Cases?
If you are concerned about animal cruelty cases, there are some things that you can do to help out. For starters, you can familiarize yourself with the signs of animal cruelty. Many of the signs can be found on the animal itself. For example, they might be thin, so much so that it is possible to see the outlines of their bones. Likewise, they might have signs that they are being neglected. Fur infested with fleas, ticks, and other parasites is a classic example. So is poor grooming that is affecting the animal’s ability to follow its normal function. There are also signs of animal cruelty that are much more blatant. It is hard to mistake an animal owner striking their animal for anything other than animal cruelty. For that matter, it isn’t unknown for these people to leave their animals with untreated injuries and illnesses.
Living environments can reveal signs of animal cruelty as well. Anytime that an animal isn’t getting the basic necessities, that should be considered a cause for concern. The Iowa woman leaving 30 cats in a place with neither food nor water nor cooling is a very obvious example, particularly since the place was also covered in substances that are detrimental to an animal’s health. However, you should also be concerned if you see other environments that are lacking in some way. Animals being left out in the open without adequate shelter is bad because many of them don’t handle prolonged exposure to the elements any better than we do. However, animals being stuffed into spaces that are too small for them are also being subjected to animal abuse.
Should you see what you believe to be an example of animal cruelty, you are supposed to document what you see before reporting it to the relevant authorities. This tends to mean the police. Still, if you are unsure where you should be sending your report, it doesn’t hurt to contact a local animal welfare organization with a good reputation for assistance. Moving on, you can also consider contributing to animal welfare organizations if you want to help out. Money is a need for everyone. These organizations are no exception to the rule because it costs money for them to take care of animals, pay their personnel, and otherwise run their operations. As such, donations are always useful. Having said that, volunteering is an option as well. Animal welfare organizations need a lot of labor, so having more helping hands can do much to ease their burden.