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As an animal lover, the last thing you’d think about is harming your feathery, furry, or scaly friend. But for hundreds of thousands of animals across the country and beyond, this is a reality they know all too well. April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, and we’d like to shed light on some of the ways you can help prevent animal cruelty in your community.

What is animal cruelty?

While animal cruelty is a broad term many of us use to associate harm made against animals, many countries define their own laws about what animal cruelty is considered to be. In Canada, both federal and provincial laws define animal cruelty. For example, this is how it is defined In British Columbia:

An animal is in distress, according to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA Act), if it is:

(a) Deprived of adequate food, water, shelter, ventilation, light, space, exercise, care or veterinary treatment,

(a.1) Kept in conditions that are unsanitary,

(a.2) Not protected from excessive heat or cold,

(b) Injured, sick, in pain or suffering, or

(c) Abused or neglected

As you can see, animal cruelty covers a wide range of needs that contribute to an animal’s well-being.

What can you do to prevent animal cruelty?

There are many ways you can help prevent cruelty to animals. Here are a few for your consideration:

Adopt

Did you know that in 2018, Canadian shelters took in more than 81,000 cats and just less than 30,000 dogs? While that’s a devastatingly high number, the good news is that many of these animals (62% of cats and 47% of dogs) were adopted into loving homes. By choosing adoption, you are giving many of these animals a second chance. 

On the contrary, many animals, such as dogs, that come from breeders and puppy mills are subject to harsh living conditions including filthy, cramped housing and minimal human contact.  While every animal deserves a loving life, puppy mills exist for profit and contribute to overpopulation. Next time you consider adding a pet to your family, strongly consider adoption.

Report

If you see an animal being abused, whether it’s a house pet or wildlife, file a report with your local authorities. It’s our responsibility to ensure that all animals are treated with compassion, love and respect. Of course, ensure your safety and never put yourself in danger if you choose to report someone abusing an animal.

Reach out your government representatives

Many federal, provincial, and municipal government laws lack proper protection for animals.  Humane Canada encourages Canadians to reach out to their Member of Parliament to advocate for comprehensive federal legislation to help improve and safeguard the lives of animals. If we have stricter laws and harsher penalties, these would hopefully act as a deterrent for people who choose to abuse animals. At the municipal level, you can help with the overpopulation crisis by encouraging your city council to adopt lower licensing fees for pet owners who spay and neuter their animals.

Teach children to respect animals

Just like how we teach our children manners, it’s important to teach them to respect animals. Since children are so impressionable, ensure you are setting a good example when interacting with animals, whether up close or from afar. Remember that all animals are living beings and should be treated equally; this includes domestic animals such as pets, and wildlife.

We have a part to play in the protection of animals. Speak up if you see an animal being abused, and be conscious of the decisions you make regarding animal purchases. For more information, particularly when it comes to safely relocating your pet, contact Worldwide Animal Travel today!