Ward: We all need to do our part to end animal cruelty


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Animals are often considered part of the family, but too many are forced to suffer abuse. Columnist Ward asks that we all do our part to end animal abuse in the United States.

Madison Ward

Every family is built differently. Some people have siblings while others have none, just as some have two parents and some don’t. But for about 43,000,000 households, there is another member of the family that might not look like everyone else — a member with four legs and fur and all — but is just as loved.

If you have a dog at home, or any pet for that matter, you know that kind of family bond you feel toward them. I know from my own experience, my two dogs basically run the house but we don’t mind because they are as much a member of my family as I am. So obviously we’d never want anything to happen to them by accident, let alone because of us. However, not everyone feels this way.

As of October 2014, 65.3 percent of animal abuse cases involved dogs. Poor, innocent dogs who will do nothing but love the person who owns them, regardless of how that person treats them. I personally think that animal cruelty is one of the most heinous acts a person can knowingly commit. Not that abuse on anything or anyone else should be forgotten or glossed over, I just have a hard time getting past the fact that you can have a dog chained up outside without food or water for days but as soon as their owner shows up, they’ll get excited. It’s sick.

Typically when one thinks of animal abuse, the most common victims that come to mind are pit bulls and not for a good reason. People tend to think that pit bulls are deserving victims because they have developed the reputation of being vicious and mean but let’s face it, they are vicious because of the way people have treated them. The ‘sport’ of dog fighting began in the 1800s when people stopped using pit bulls to catch bulls — that’s where the name comes from — and started using them to fight other dogs.

Note, I said people started the “sport.” They put these animals in a cage and egged them on. The dogs didn’t all get together and decide to become the most feared dog in America. Humans gave them that title and it is high time we reverse that stereotype. The fact is pit bulls are actually quite good with children and when they are well socialized and trained, they make great companions for rough-and-tumble children. As long as they are treated well and well taken care of, pit bulls won’t turn on their owners. It’s when the owner is abusive and mean the animal will become unfriendly. If this animal is mean it’s because we’ve made it that way.

Spring Break is almost upon us, which means most of us will head home for at least a little while and that will present us with some time to spend with our pets that we haven’t seen in a while. I advise you to do one thing in the midst of the fetch and the walks and the relaxing with your favorite furry friend. Take a moment and really think about how you would feel if you lost that pet or if something were to happen to him. I know if something were to happen to my dogs it would crush me. It would be like losing a member of the family.

So while you’re sitting there with your happy pet, think about all the other helpless animals who need your help. That doesn’t mean you have to surprise your parents by adopting every animal at the shelter, although adoption is a wonderful thing. That could mean volunteering at the local Animal Rescue League with a group or friends for the afternoon or heading over to the ASPCA website and figuring out how you can help. Animals can’t tell us their story, so we have to remember that not every animal is as happy as your pet. It’s our job to do our part and end the cycle of animal cruelty in America.