Some time ago I signed up for a real estate course offered on an infomercial. I attended a boot camp and even drove around with the celebrity of the infomercial and a group of other students to look at potential purchases. At one abandoned and run down home that we visited, I was heartbroken to see a dog that had died in the yard. Apparently the people who lived there had abandoned the house and left the animal chained in the backyard.
As I tried to register this awful scene and accept that anyone could be so cruel, I heard the aforementioned tv personality laugh and say "Now this is the kind of thing we like to see. A dead dog in the yard drives down the purchase price." I was mortified. I simply could not comprehend such callousness.
As egregious as this man's attitude was however, it seems that he is not alone. Animal abuse occurs over and over again in almost every city and town in our country and it seems many people are indifferent to it. Abuse is bad enough, but complacency is a disgrace and an injustice to these noble creatures that we call "pets".
I am not an activist and cannot condone the senseless violation of the law and the rights of others by some of the radical animal rights groups. Their pragmatic approach to helping animals turns off public empathy rather than focusing awareness. But I do believe all individuals who love animals need to be proactive watchdogs (pardon the pun) against animal abuse and cruelty.
So what cant he average person do? Getting personally involved by knocking on someone's door is not for everyone and sometimes is not very wise. But there are other things you can do without exposing yourself to ridicule or danger. Here are some suggestions:
• Report it to local law enforcement, animal control or any organizatons in your area that exist to prevent animal cruelty. Almost always you can request to remain anonymous and your request will be honored. Most municipalities have laws on the books concerning the humane treatment of animals and these are easily enforced. Cable television shows that depict law enforcement's passion to protect animals have sparked new public awareness and help to ensure that you will get action with your complaint.
• Lobby for stricter laws and better law enforcement. Call your local city or country counsel and voice your opinion. Write a letter, generate a petition, whatever it takes to get the job done. In most states some animal abuse violations are now felonies. This came about because ordinary people like you and I pushed a politician to take action.
• Call the local news. Community interest stories and "fix-it" segments often like to take on stories about animal abuse. Once the camera goes on, politicians start to show more interest.
• Contact people who will help you. There are a growing number of websites that offer to take up the cause for you. Some offer to contact your local officials. Some even offer to contact the violators on your behalf, while you remain anonymous. I will not list any here for fear of missing one or making it appear I favor one over the other, but they are easily found.
There are certainly other things that can be done, but the list above should provide an avenue of remedy for you. The most important ingredient to fixing a problem however, is you. If you want the problem fixed, you can't turn a blind eye to the problem. Someone needs to fix it. If not you, then who? If not now, then when?