How do you know when to say something and when to keep your mouth shut? I’ve spoken on this topic before, but last night I had another “Just keep your mouth closed Kristy”. While talking about animal abuse with my mother-in-law, the topic came up about becoming poor and moving away. She said to me, “If I couldn’t have my dog anymore, or any pet, I’d just put it down that way I know it’s not being abused”. Umm…HELLO, isn’t it abusive to end a healthy life too soon!? I hoped and prayed she had never done this, but I wanted off of this topic real fast before our happy-go-lucky relationship turned sour.
What it comes down to is pet ownership has many different avenues–there are 100 + ways to decorate a cupcake (so to speak), and unfortunately in some cases the term “ownership” gets in the way when you want to intervene. Pet owners can choose how they treat their pets; what food to feed them; where animals sleep; how they are confined; how they are disciplined and so on.
Yesterday, I read a report about a dog that was found on a 30cm long chain (about the length of a large foot). It’s not illegal, but it sure is cruel.
So when should we speak up?
- Assess the severity of the situation, do you NEED to intervene?
- Decide who to speak with (owner, law enforcement, SPCA, government, etc)
- Decide on alternative solutions– Someone is less likely to agree with you if your alternatives are unattainable for them. Example leaving a dog in a crate or at daycare are two alternatives for dogs left on a chain all day for confinement, but not every dog owner can afford daycare. And they may not take your concern seriously.
- Document the situation, what you see, hear, what has been said, have officials been involved prior.
A great example would be a dog in a car during the summer. How hot is it outside? How does the dog look? Does it have water and air ventilation? How long have you noticed the dog there alone for?
Its easy to jump down someone’s throat on how their raise their pets, but there are situations that need a voice for the voiceless.