Animal cruelty, unfortunately, exists but a number of organizations are bringing the issue to the forefront and available to assist when needed.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have seen the ASPCA commercials on television spotlighting abused animals and asking for your monetary assistance in continuing their work.
The familiar song by Sarah McLachlan, "In the Arms of the Angel," is just one of the songs on an ASPCA commercial; you know what the commercial is about if you hear that song playing.
Other artists such as Roberta Flack and Ice Cube also have their songs playing on ASPCA commercials.
I usually have the television on in the background while doing something else.
However, over the holidays while enjoying some vacation time, I glanced at the television and saw a new commerical for the ASPCA on animal abuse.
This commerical started with the photo of an obviously abused cat with huge eyes with a caption saying something like, "If I could talk, I would ask you what I did," and then another caption with "If I knew what I did, I wouldn't do it again."
If you are an animal lover, you really cannot watch these commericals without being affected; however, I had questions which I directed to the ASPCA, based in New York.
Senior Manager, Media and Communications, ASPCA Alison M. Jiménez said, "While we cannot attribute all our growth to the commercials, the ASPCA has grown significantly since the commercials began airing in 2003. The commercials allow us to explain the need for support and show our life-saving work in a way that really resonates with our supporters."
Back in 2003, my cousin's son was watching television when an ASPCA commercial ran and he would not stop crying until his mother called to make a pledge.
"The ASPCA pays for the airtime, but the celebrities used in spots have generously donated their time," Jiménez said. "In 2011, the ASPCA raised more than $147 million, of which more than 73 percent was spent on programming to prevent cruelty and end homelessness for animals across the country."
The ASPCA offers grant funding each year for local shelters.
"We support animal welfare organizations and agencies around the country where the money is needed most through cash awards, sponsorships, technical assistance and training," Jiménez said. "While we do not have a formal affiliation with local SPCAs throughout the country, we assist SPCAs, humane societies and local shelters around the country financially, as well as provide human and other non-monetary resources toward animal sheltering programs and innovations, legislative issues, anti-cruelty and disaster response efforts on a national scale."
The ASPCA responded in three ways to Hurricane Sandy. They distributed pet supplies, provided veterinarian care and rescued animals left behind. They later reunited pets with their owners.
"The ASPCA supports mostly companion animals – dogs, cats, horses and rabbits," Jiménez said. "Our website, ASPCA.org, is full of examples of ways people can help support the animals we care for. We also encourage the public to support their local shelter by adopting, volunteering or donating. Those interested in animal welfare issues on a larger scale can help by joining the ASPCA's Advocacy Brigade."
There are a number of local organizations in Lehigh County who can assist if you see animal abuse or if you are interested in adopting a pet.
These include Animals in Distress, Coopersburg; Last Chance Ranch Inc. Animal Rescue, Quakertown; Lehigh Valley Animal Rights Coalition, Allentown; Lehigh County Humane Society, Allentown; and in Northampton County, The Center for Animal Health and Welfare.
Visit www.humaneinpa.org and click on the link on the left, "Organizations by County."
Animals really cannot speak for themselves and we need to advocate for them. Perhaps, as a community, we can put an end to the abuse of animals in our neighborhoods.
East Penn Press