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Created by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), National Justice for Animals Week is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about animal abuse, educating the public on how to report cases of abuse, and providing guidance on how to campaign for stronger laws and ensure tough enforcement in your community. National Justice for Animals Week falls on the fourth week of February each year, and will be celebrated from February 16th to February 22nd.
The ALDF works within the legal system to help protect the lives and interests of animals by:
- Filing lawsuits
- Providing legal assistance to prosecutors to hold animal abusers accountable for their actions
- Fighting against legislation that may be harmful to animals
- Campaigning for laws that protect animals
- Creating outreach programs to help educate the public
What You Can Do to Stop Animal Cruelty
Animal cruelty is a serious crime and, according to the ALDF, animal abusers are five times more likely to hurt other humans as well.
Unfortunately, it is extremely common for animal cruelty to go unpunished. Every day, animals are abused and killed without consequences for their assailants.
Animals need a voice, and it’s up to us to help create change by raising awareness of this important issue. The public should know what to do upon witnessing animal cruelty and familiarize themselves with state animal protection laws.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has suggested the following for those unsure of how to help abused animals:
- Learn how to spot abuse. Understand what your area’s law enforcement defines as animal abuse or neglect, and be prepared to report it if necessary.
- Set a good example. Always feed your pets high-quality food and provide water, shelter, healthcare, and socialization. Being a great pet caretaker can help set an example for others to do the same.
- Use your vote. Ask your local representatives to support anti-cruelty laws and other legislation that protects animals. Help spread the word about upcoming votes on important issues such as changes in punishment for animal abusers and the election of animal control officers.
- Spend wisely. Refuse to support stores that don’t promote proper animal care. Purchase supplies from stores that only sell healthy and well cared-for animals, or stores that don’t sell animals at all. Avoid puppy mills and spread the word about their inhumane practices.
- Volunteer or donate. Consider spending a few hours a week to help local groups prevent animal cruelty. If you don’t have the time to get involved, a donation is a great way to help.
In cases of animal hoarding or neglect, contact your local Humane Society. If you have trouble resolving the situation, consider informing the local media. In an emergency situation where an animal’s life is in immediate danger, contact your local law enforcement or call 911 immediately.
What Is a Puppy Mill?
A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog-breeding facility that focuses on profits over the welfare of the dogs. The goal of puppy mills is to produce the largest number of puppies as quickly as possible, without consideration for genetic quality or animal care.
Dogs are often kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions without quality food, clean water, or veterinary care. The mother breeder dogs may give birth to multiple litters each year throughout their adult lives, and, as the mother and father dogs age, they will be abandoned or killed when they are no longer useful to their breeders.
Due to the breeding practices of puppy mills, dogs commonly suffer from genetic and hereditary conditions, as well as deadly diseases. Many of these dogs will also experience lifelong behavioral and psychological problems from a lack of early socialization and from being weaned too early.
During National Justice for Animals Week, sign the petition to shut down puppy mills. Take the opportunity to tell your friends and family about why they should adopt instead of buying from pet stores or large commercial breeders.
Since 2011, more than 300 cities and counties, as well as two states (California and Maryland), have passed retail pet sale ban laws. These laws make it illegal for pet stores to sell dogs and cats sourced from large-scale commercial breeders. Instead, they must offer animals available for adoption from animal shelters and rescue groups.
To learn more, read our article on puppy mills.