April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

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Join the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA in celebrating this month as Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month.

1. Be More Aware Without phone calls from the concerned citizens who report cruelty in their neighborhoods, the authorities wouldn't know about most instances of animal abuse. It all comes from the public, it all starts with YOU-that's why it's so important to keep your eyes and ears open. Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood. By being aware, you're more likely to notice, for example, that the dog next door who was once hefty has lost weight rapidly-a possible indicator of abuse. CAUTION: If you are going to approach a wounded or abused dog or cat, you should do so with extreme caution. An animal in pain may strike out because it is hurting or scared.

2. Recognize Animal Cruelty Here are some signs and symptoms that we see in many cases: Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a veterinarian, can lead to an animal's death. Wounds on the body. Patches of missing hair. Extremely thin, starving animals. Limping. An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal. Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard. Dogs who have been hit by cars or are showing any of the signs listed above and have not been taken to a veterinarian. Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions. Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.

3. Know Who to Call to Report Animal Cruelty If you witness or suspect an act of animal cruelty in your community, contact your local police department's nonemergency line. Click here for a list of all police nonemergency phone numbers. AZHumane has jurisdiction to investigate the cities Scottsdale and Phoenix: call 602-997-7585 ext. 2073 The Maricopa County Sheriff's office covers all other areas: call 602-876-1011. PLUS- It's very important to follow up on any calls, letters or e-mails that you have sent.

4. Provide As Much Information as Possible When Reporting Animal Cruelty The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting the investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty that you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.

5. Call or Write Your Local Law Enforcement Agency Let them know that investigating animal cruelty should be a priority. Animal cruelty is a CRIME-and the police MUST investigate these crimes.

6. Know Your State's Animal Cruelty Laws Animal cruelty is a serious issue. Under Maricopa County laws, it is illegal to beat, torment, hurt, or otherwise harm any animal in any manner. People who cause an animal to suffer pain or discomfort can be charged with a crime. The county relies on local law enforcement and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to enforce state statutes. Learn more about .

7. Fight for the Passage of Strong Anti-Cruelty Laws on Federal, State and Local Levels With stronger laws, there will more than likely be tougher penalties. Write to your local councilmen, and state and federal legislators, and encourage them to support stronger laws with tougher penalties.

8. Set a Good Example for Others If you have pets, be sure to always show them the love and good care that they deserve. But it's more than just food, water, and adequate shelter. If you think your animal is sick, take him to the veterinarian. Be responsible and have your animals spayed or neutered.

9. Talk to Your Kids About How to Treat Animals with Kindness and Respect Help your children understand that animals rely on humans to take care of them and provide for them. They can't feed themselves; we must do that for them. You can pose questions to your kids like: " Don't you think Rover would like to have a warm place to sleep when it gets cold?" "What do you think FiFi would ask you for if she could speak?" (Your children can learn from classes and camps at AAWL/SPCA - )

10. Support Your Local Shelter or Animal Rescue Organization Volunteer at an animal shelter. It's a great way to make a difference. Foster an animal from the shelter. Make a donation to the shelter so it continues to carry on its important work.