How To Recognise Animal Abuse

Cases of animal cruelty and neglect are sadly very common. There are many cases reported in the media and online. Animal charities are to be applauded on fighting this awful problem on a daily basis.

In this blog post we try and educate you on how to identify cases of animal abuse. If you do come across incidents of animal abuse then you should report it to the Department of Agriculture, the Gardaí or your local animal welfare organisation and appropriate action will be taken.

The Five Freedoms for Animals

The welfare of an animal includes its physical and mental state and it is considered that good animal welfare implies both fitness and a sense of well-being.

There are Five Freedoms that are the rights for animals under human control.

The Freedom from hunger and thirst: an animal should have ready access to fresh drinking water and a diet that maintains full health and vigour.

Freedom from discomfort: Pets should be provided with an appropriate environment and a comfortable resting area.

Freedom from pain, injury or disease: by prevention by rapid diagnosis and treatment

Freedom to express normal behaviour: Pets should be provided with sufficient space and proper facilities

Freedom from fear and distress: owners should ensure conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

Most reported cases are of general neglect and poor management where an owner does not provide adequate food, water, veterinary treatment or shelter for their animals. These can often be dealt with by the help and support of animal welfare organisations by providing practical support to and education of the animal owner. Some animal-loving owners, through ignorance may not know how to provide for their animal’s needs or through lack of resources may not be able to do so. A distinction can be made between failing to adequately care for an animal and intentionally or knowingly neglecting its care. Any neglect may cause a lot of pain and suffering to an animal.

Some examples of serious animal neglect include:

•      Untreated wounds, injuries or illnesses

•      Extreme weight-loss or emaciation

•      Physical abuse of an animal

•      Untreated skin conditions resulting in hair loss, and secondary infections.

•      Heavy infestation with lice, fleas, ticks or other parasites

•      Inadequate grooming leading to matting of the  hair, overgrown nails and dirty coat

•      Abandonment

Intentional animal cruelty is of great public concern and is associated with other serious crimes such as domestic violence. The link between individuals inflicting cruelty on animals and then going on to commit similar crimes against people is well recognised. Effects of intentional cruelty on the animal-victim may be easier to document and it is more clearly recognised than cases of neglect. If you suspect, or are concerned for a pet’s health and safety, please contact your local Garda station, local animal welfare agency or local SPCA.

Concerned about animal abuse?

Contact the ISCPA on 1890 515 515.

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