As the saying goes ‘we are a nation of animal lovers’. Fortunately this is certainly true for the vast majority of the population, for whom the notion of deliberately mistreating or harming an animal is completely alien.
Unfortunately, as a Rescue Centre, we do see the flip side to this on occasion. The instances of willfull neglect and cruelty are, thankfully, rare but we do see an increasing number of pets that have been living in less than ideal environments or under less than ideal circumstances. In our experience a lot of the harm these animals may have suffered (both emotionally and physically) is as a result of a general lack of empathy of the pet’s needs and a general lack of knowledge and forethought concerning all areas of responsible pet ownership.
We have all seen the horrific adverts on the TV showing skeletal, filthy and clearly ill animals being removed from a property, and obviously to allow them to ‘live’ in these conditions is highly visible cruelty. Hopefully the need to remind people to call the SSPCA or the police if they are aware of blatant cruelty, of this type, is unnecessary since it would be everyone’s first reaction.
The contact number for the SSPCA is 03000 999 999 and this takes you to the main switchboard from where you can choose the most relevant option for your concerns. The personell will take you through their policy with regards to anonimity which basically promises not to make the identity of the caller known to the people who are being reported on. They do, however, prefer to have a record of the caller’s details should any further information be required. As such the call to them will not result in your identity being known to anyone other than the SSPCA and for this reason if you have concerns you should make your call with confidence.
Of equal concern to us, however, are the more subtle but, potentially as damaging, effects of the general ignorance and empathy required for responsible pet ownership. Animals left alone all day; animals not given a stimulating environment; animals not socialised with others or with people; animals not exercised sufficiently; animals not given their health checks, boosters, deflea and worming treatments could all be viewed as harmful to the pet’s welfare.