The case in North Carolina in which a 45-year-old woman posted a Facebook photo of her dog muzzled with duct tape is neither isolated nor rare.
Unfortunately, many people - not only pet owners - get away with treating animals in callous ways.
Acts of animal maltreatment range from torturing, maiming, and mutilating the animal to depriving it of food, shelter, water and medical care.
Reasons why people perform acts of animal cruelty vary, experts said.
Not A Proper Or Ethical Action
In the duct-taped dog case, people all over the world have been spurred to sign a petition asking North Carolina Police to prosecute the woman who posted the photo on her Facebook. The woman, whose real name is Katharine F. Lemansky, listed her residence on South Daytona, Florida.
Started by Jessica Cole, the petition to prosecute Lemansky has about more than 36,000 supporters.
"This is flagrant animal abuse. We are asking that the police department of Cary and the Wake County prosecutor hold Katharine Lemansky accountable for her actions to the full extent of the law," said the petition.
Cole and the supporters of the campaign believe that putting duct tape on an animal's mouth is definitely not the right or ethical way to train an animal to be obedient. The campaign is successful as police have been prompted to investigate the case and Lemansky has now been charged with one count of Class 1 Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals.
Why Animal Abuse Occurs
Experts from PAWS explained that some people do not understand that their actions cause pain and suffering to animals. Some people who have experienced abuse themselves torment animals because they think that it is the way to treat others, they said.
Other pet owners are not aware of the needs that animals have, such as having proper shelter, food, and medical care. Forms of neglect include keeping dogs on a chain or a leash all the time, letting them stay in their outdoor cage while heavy rain is pouring, or leaving them inside the car while they go out.
Some have mistaken beliefs regarding how they treat their pets - believing that they are training animals when they are too harsh with them. There are also those who hoard too many animals out of "love." This often causes more harm as they might not be able to give these animals the proper amount of food. These animals may also end up living in a space that is too cramped, unhealthy or dirty.
Meanwhile, the most extreme cases of animal cruelty include the tormentor getting pleasure or satisfaction from making animals suffer. People think that by hurting the animal, they already have control over it. They also hurt the animal so they could hurt other people, experts said.
What You Can Do
It is vital to report cases of animal cruelty to authorities as the cycle of torment will never be stopped especially if the tormentor does not know that his/her actions cause pain. However, never touch the person who is hurting the animal while he/she is doing it. Experts said that doing so could put you in a dangerous position.
Instead, you should find help from people who do not treat animals in a cruel way. Tell them what you saw, and find help from authorities. You can call emergency services or animal control to report the incident.