Animal Cruelty Awareness – Be An Animal Advocate!

Apr 09, 2024 by Gayle M Irwin

Dog on chain. Photo from Pixababy

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Started years ago by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), this is a time for education about the continued existence of animal cruelty and neglect, which comes in many forms. Here are just a few:

  1. Puppy and Kitten Mills – Also known as ‘backyard breeding,’ these operations provide little to no care, medically, socially, physically, to animals used in frequent breeding. Small dogs are kept in tiny cages, often piled on top of one another, with little social interactions with other animals or with people. Females are bred repeatedly and used as money-makers. The same happens to cats and kittens of certain breeds. National Mill Dog Rescue and other animal rescue organizations specialize in helping close puppy mills, rehabilitating and socializing the dogs taken in, and adopting them to loving families. Learn more about the horror of puppy mills and how each of us can play a role to end backyard breeding here:
  2. Dog Fighting – Monday, April 8, was Dog Fighting Awareness Day. Despite laws in all 50 states and many U.S. territories that make this ‘blood sport’ illegal, underground and secretive operations continue throughout the country. The most famous case took place in 2007 when famous football player Michael Vick was arrested for operating a dog fighting ring. He served nearly two years in prison, and most of his dogs were placed with animal rescue organizations around the United States, including Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. Fortunately, most of the dogs were saved, either to live out their lives at such sanctuaries or, for some, adopted into loving families. Such re-training remains debated in courts, but the “Vicktory Dogs” taught the system and the public dogs used in fighting are not hopeless cases, but instead, are victims of human selfishness and evil. Learn more about dog fighting and how to spot this crime here:
  3. Neglect and Abuse – Animals that lack food, water, and shelter are neglected and abused, and abuse also includes torture, whipping, and lack of medical/veterinary care. States and communities have laws against neglect and abuse; these vary, so learning your state statutes and your community or county ordinances is crucial. Report any neglect or abuse you see to local authorities. Learn more about the signs of animal neglect and abuse here:
  4. Hoarding Although not necessarily intentional abuse, animals in hoarding situations suffer greatly, including from lack of food, living in filth and feces, and lack of socialization. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “Sufferers of a hoarding disorder may impose severe neglect on animals by housing far more than they are able to adequately take care of. Serious animal neglect (such as hoarding) is often an indicator of people in need of social or mental health services.” Interestingly, the organization continues, “Surveys suggest that those who intentionally abuse animals are predominantly men under 30, while those involved in animal hoarding are more likely to be women over 60.” Hoarding is considered a disorder. Learn more about animal hoarding here:


During this month of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, may we all become more aware of animal cruelty and report our observations to authorities, helping the animals who need advocates for their welfare.

Photo of Little Red, one of the Vicktory Dogs, hangs on a wall in my home. Photo by G. Irwin

For more information on animal cruelty and ways to help prevent it, visit this website:

Let’s all do our part to help animals in need – let us be a voice for the voiceless!