There is no reason an animal should ever be neglected. If you can't care for your animal, call your local animal control or find a local animal shelter. Sadly, domesticated animal neglect and abuse is well known in the United States. People get an animal and believe they can care for them or they grow up in a home where abuse takes place and the animal is conditioned for pain. Animals can't speak up.

Animals suffer in silence. According to American Humane Society, some ways people neglect their animals are: not providing adequate care, not giving them shelter, keeping their collar too tight, lack of grooming and starving them.

For an animal to stay safe, they need shelter. As animals get older, they grow, but their collars don’t. Without increasing the size of the collar as they grow, it can cause injury, strangulation and even death. If an animal has long hair, without grooming, it will become matted, causing sores. Animals need food to survive, and without that, they can starve to death or become ill with diseases and parasites.

Some people grow up in a home where abuse happens, and it’s all they know. If a child has witnessed animal abuse, there is a greater chance of them becoming an abuser themselves. In many cases of incest or child sexual abuse, the offender may use the threat or torture of death of an animal as powerful coercion (through fear) to keep a child quiet about the sexual abuse. People who abuse animals don't just stop with animals. The Humane Society has said in one survey that 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported that their abuser also targeted pets. Their research has shown that there is a direct link between abusing animals and violence towards humans. The Humane Society explains that some state laws only allow felony charges if the perpetrator has a previous animal cruelty conviction. Given that only a fraction of animal cruelty acts are ever reported or successfully prosecuted, people need to speak up for the animals or they will continued to be harmed.

There is no reason an innocent animal should ever be harmed. If you see or know of animal abuse or neglect happening around you, call your local animal control. If you have an animal that you can no longer care for, call your local animal control or find a shelter. To stop animal abuse, our society needs to speak up and call for help. Don't stand by and let innocent animals suffer.

Lauren Schneider

Castle View High School