We often feel helpless when we see an animal in unpleasant circumstances. Following the correct route of action is essential in helping the animal! The SPCA and Animal Anti Cruelty League share this valuable advice:
- Keep the number of an SPCA and an Animal Anti Cruelty League (AACL) with you at all times.
- Report the matter quickly and with details DIRECTLY to an SPCA or to the AACL.
HOW TO REPORT CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
Contact your local SPCA or the AACL as quickly as possible by telephone. Keep the number of your local SPCA and the nearest AACL with you. Even if this is not the appropriate centre, they can quickly forward details. Give as much detail as you can including your estimation of the level of urgency and the exact position or address if possible. Any visuals taken at the scene can be forwarded later.
For record purposes, the informant will be asked to give his or her name, address and contact number. The identity of informants is kept strictly confidential. A detailed description of what has been witnessed or what is taking place is needed plus the exact location. At a later stage, the informant will be given feedback and may be asked for any additional details.
In serious cases, criminal charges can be laid and the matter brought before a Court of Law.
Cases are won and lost on evidence. Far too many matters are reported, action taken and then the case is lost because a key witness or maybe the only witness “does not want to get involved.” The public are far more than our eyes and ears.
Each case is different but in general terms, we ask that if the animal can be assisted immediately without risk to the witness, then step in and help. The matter can then be reported to the local SPCA or the AACL.
Of course discretion must be used. Do not put yourself at risk, and this includes instances of puppies are being sold at the side of a road. Confronting the seller has led to instances of attacks and one victim having to be hospitalised. There are proven instances of this being a ploy to stage a hi-jacking.
Above all, do not take the law into your own hands.
A frequently asked question is what can an individual do if a dog has been left in a vehicle. Again, contact the local SPCA or AACL who can in turn use their own network to assist if they are not in the vicinity. Even in an emergency if a window has to be broken to rescue the animal, this is best left to the authorities who can usually be summoned quickly. A member of the public can be charged with damage to property.
An urgent plea is made not to report cases of animal abuse/cruelty/neglect through web sites or via Facebook or email. There are many websites which have a facility for reporting crimes. The number of these sites continues to grow. Given that the internet is so wide, individuals may post a report on a site thinking it is local or even national when in fact they are reporting on a website in another country. For these reasons, reports may not be picked up. Time is inevitably lost reaching the animals even if the webmaster is sufficiently alert and caring as to forward the report.