Animal Abuse Awareness Now
April 18, 2013

Animal Abuse Awareness Now

A few of days ago, I wrote about April as Alcohol Awareness Month; however, April is also home to another awareness: animal abuse. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), each April, the organization urges its supporters to wear orange, the ASPCA color, to show their support of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

The ASPCA is celebrating 147 years of saving lives, pet and animal lives. For those who have not had exposure to the ASPCA, here is a bit of information:

“Founded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is ‘to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.’”

This organization works to help rescue animals nationwide. They focus on animals that have been abused, neglected, or otherwise mistreated. April is a month to not only celebrate the rescue successes, but also to mourn the losses and help educate the American public about animal abuse.

When I learned that April was the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, I just knew I had to write about it. I find animal abuse and neglect completely abhorrent. People who are cruel to animals abuse something that is not able to speak up for itself and that loves its pet parents. We need to have awareness months like this to inspire everyone to treat their pets with the love and respect they deserve.

I am reminded of a story a student of mine told. When she went to get her puppy, she originally went to the breeder for a Yorkie, but when she got there, the breeder’s husband was abusing this little mini-Schnauzer. To save it, she bought it instead. She told me that the breeder has since gotten into trouble, but I do not know to what extent.

When she originally told me about the man picking up and dropping the puppy and calling it names, I wanted to contact the authorities right away. She assured me that they had been, but I still felt the anger and disgust swell inside of me. This is an example of why breeders make me uncomfortable.

I do know some breeders who honor their animals, but when we hear stories about people who abuse, neglect, and mistreat their animals, our suspicions run high. It is just so sad and unfair to animals that have proven time and again to love and protect humans.

And it’s not just dogs. Cats receive just as much abuse, if not more. So many have a misconception about cats that is completely unfair. Cats are shot at with bb guns, chased, shaved, and kicked, just to name a few instances of common abuse. And cats are just as wonderful of pets as dogs. We can’t forget all the other pets and animals abused and neglected, from fish to birds to reptiles, rodents, and so many others.

I am not a bleeding heart, here. I do, however, love animals and adore my pets. They are a part of my family, and I would not tolerate any sort of abuse or teasing of them. I believe that humans should be mature and controlled enough not to take out our anger and frustrations on beasts that just want to love and help us.

So, in honor of April’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, I beg that we all treat animals with love and respect; and if we know of abuse, contact the local humane society. We should stand up and protect these animals, these family members. They would do that for us…they have done that for us.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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