As animal lovers, we hate to believe that anyone would want to hurt an animal. But unfortunately animal cruelty is much more prevalent than it should be. Far too many animals fall victim to abuse and abandonment and no animal should have to endure cruelty and live in fear. All animals deserve to be loved and nurtured, and the good news is that there are ways you can help those poor pets that are mistreated.

Here are some ways you can try to make a difference in the lives of animals that are abused and abandoned. With just a bit of effort and care, we can help to care for those animals that others have left behind.

1. Foster

Fostering a dog or cat may be the ideal situation if you love animals but aren’t able to make the commitment to own one of your own. It allows the pet to be loved and cared for, in a nurturing environment, while arrangements are made to find them a forever home. Here’s some information to get you started if you think you’d like to foster a pet someday.

2. Adopt

There is an abundance of animals that are in need of a forever home. The sad reality is that if not adopted, some of these pets may go on to be euthanised. By adopting a pet you could be giving an animal a second chance at life. You’re opening your home to them, and in return you’ll be rewarded with unconditional level.  A good place to start is to pay a visit to your local shelters.

3. Volunteer

There’s no shortage of volunteer options available. You can volunteer at the local shelter and either work with the animals, or help with administrative work in the office or at a farm animal sanctuary. When we think of abandoned pets, we often think of cats and dogs, however farm animals like ducks, goats, chickens, cows, and pigs also need rescue and rehabilitation sometimes!

4. Donate

If you love animals but simply have no time to volunteer, foster, or adopt a pet of your own, then donations to your local animal rescue are always appreciated. These can be used to buy food, supplies, and pay for vet bills amongst other things. Don’t think that money is the only option for a donation, either! Many places will accept used items like leashes, pet beds, and toys for instance. You could always also donate pet food. Here are some pet rescues, if you think making a donation is the right way for you to help out.

5. Hold a fundraiser

We often don’t think of hosting fundraisers as they can be a lot of work, and a lot of the time people don’t think that they’ll raise much money. In reality, however, any amount raised for abused and abandoned animals is beneficial. Even if just one animal is saved from your fundraising efforts, it’s considered a win. Keep it simple; hold a garage or bake sale, and donate the proceeds to a local rescue group or shelter.

6. Advocacy

Animals cannot speak for themselves, so it’s up to us humans to speak for them. You can start and sign petitions aimed at laws that protect chained animals or animals in puppy mills. Support organisations like Oscars Law and Voiceless that work tirelessly on behalf of animals around Australia.  Laws can vary between municipalities, so educate yourself as to who represents the government where you live. If possible, speak at local government meetings and directly to policy makers so as to encourage strict anti-cruelty laws.

7. Raise awareness

While lobbying politicians, you can also write letters to the editor and start a social media campaign to bring awareness to the cause. The more people who support you, the more likely there can be lasting and effective change. You never know how many people are out there with the same beliefs as you who just don’t know how to start acting on them. Which takes us to our next point…

8. Lead by example

Love your pets and show that love to others. This means lots of hugs and kisses. Make sure you get your pet spayed or neutered so that you’re not adding to the population of abandoned animals. If your pet is sick, take it to a vet and don’t assume it will get better on its own. Be the change you want to see.

9. Report any misconduct

If you see an animal who has been mistreated or is in danger, report it as soon as possible. This is difficult for some people as it may mean reporting on a friend or neighbour, but it is necessary. Cruelty to animals is illegal, and letting it slide is dangerous.

10. Know signs of animal abuse

By knowing what signs to look out for, you can make a significant difference in the lives of abused animals. Here are some things that could indicate that animal abuse is present:

  • An animal being chained outside for most of the day, especially with no shelter, food, or water;
  • An animal looking emaciated from lack of food or water;
  • Visible wounds or the appearance of being in poor condition;
  • If there seems to be too many animals on one property, and that they are not receiving adequate care;
  • An animal displaying abnormal behavior that suggests mistreatment;
  • An owner displaying violence towards an animal, including during discipline;
  • An animal appearing lost or abandoned.

If you identify one or more of these signs, you need to report the situation to the correct authorities. Familiarise yourself with the groups in your area that deal with abused animals. You can contact your local branch of a charity that prevents cruelty to animals, for a start. They can initiate an inspection, either with their own inspectors or through the police if necessary. If the animal is not properly cared for, the appropriate action will be taken. Make sure to note details when you notice suspicious behaviour, as it could prove vital to the investigations.

/All animals are beautiful creatures that deserve and demand our love and respect. We should all do whatever we can to make sure that they’re treated properly and humanely.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things animal - whether it's cats, dogs, rabbit or horses! Liz was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure Pet Insurance for the past 12 years, and Pet Professional Insurance since 2018. Liz is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, supporting those who work in the pet industry, as well as those who work to promote a better life for all animals.