April is Animal Cruelty Awareness Month

GREAT FALLS – April is National Animal Cruelty Awareness Month, and a few days ago at the Great Falls City Commission meeting, Mayor Bob Kelly signed a proclamation acknowledging this take awareness in the Great Falls community, reminding us all to speak up. for those who have no voice.

The proclamation was brought to the table by the Great Falls Animal Shelter.

Great Falls Animal Shelter Volunteer Coordinator Laramie Smovir said, “Obviously, animal abuse is a huge topic for the community, not just for the animals, but for the human side of it.”

According to Humane Society of the United Statesaround 71% of victims of domestic violence said their abuser also targeted pets, and one study showed child abuse is strongly linked

“What we see is that, statistically, people who abuse animals don’t stop at animals,” Smovir noted. “They then continue to abuse people, children, and so it becomes a much larger problem for the law enforcement community.”

The Great Falls Animal Shelter aims for this proclamation to not only raise awareness of animal cruelty, but also educate community members on ways to reduce animal cruelty.

The following are likely signs of animal abuse:

  • Tail tucked, twitches at human contact.
  • Unexplained fractures or lameness.
  • Aggression, whining or unprovoked moaning.
  • Too submissive (rolling on back, tail tucked, urinating)
  • Suddenly avoiding all physical contact.
  • Attempts to bite or scratch when petted.

The federal Prevention of Cruelty and Torture to Animals Act (PACT) was signed into law in 2019. The law primarily targets those involved in fetish “animal crush” videos and criminal networks multi-state involving animals. Under the law, a person can be convicted of a federal felony if found torturing animals. This includes crushing, burning, drowning, choking and impaling.

But federal law doesn’t apply in many situations, including cases of negligence, which are usually prosecuted through existing state laws. A person can be charged with a state offense when found neglecting an animal by failing to provide its basic needs like adequate food, water, and shelter. Click here to read more.


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