I was going through some of my older drawings the other day and found one from last winter that I'm fairly certain I never shared here. It's one of my many bookish doodles, with a bookworm hanging out in a library with a couple of her feline friends. I don't know why I felt compelled to describe it to you there, since I'm sharing it right now as our contribution to Athena's Caturday Art Blog Hop.
We've discussed helping ferals stay warm and cared for in the winter, such as by offering them even makeshift shelters and putting food out for them. We've also mentioned helping your own kitties or pups remain healthy and happy during the cold winter months, such as by minimizing time their outdoors and offering extra warm places for them to sleep inside the home. But, what role can you play when it comes to others' companion animals, those who are not ferals, but who are also not your own furbabies? The important thing when it comes to this is to be observant, to be aware of an observed companion animal's situation on a cold winter day, and, if necessary, to be a voice for the voiceless.
If you notice someone's pet cat or dog being kept outdoors for an extended, unsafe length of time on a cold winter day, then get the details of the situation and report it. Also report if an animal being abused or neglected in this way is left outside in the cold without shelter in which to stay warm, or while chained up, and so forth. If you believe you are witnessing a stray animal struggling to survive without a home, in the cold winter months or any time of the year, also report this to someone who can help them. In any such cases, get the address where the animal is located, the number of animals affected, details regarding the conditions in which the animal is living, and even get pictures if possible.
In case you ever do find yourself facing a situation of animal abuse or neglect, try to make sure you are aware of whom to call in order to get help for an animal in need. In some locations, cases of animal abuse or neglect are best reported to certain humane organizations. In some places, if you notice animal abuse or neglect, you should call animal control, or law enforcement. What's more, to ensure that an abused or neglected animal is indeed rescued from unsafe conditions, don't just report it, but follow through with any reports you make to ensure that animals suffering abuse or neglect get the help they need.
At this point, we do want to make what we're sure is an obvious clarification. In order to avoid mistakes or misunderstandings, never jump to conclusions without first having the facts, and this of course regards the care of others' furbabies. For example, if you see a dog outside in someone's yard on a cold winter day, don't automatically assume this is a case of abuse or neglect, and don't raise false alarms. In some cases, a dog might of course just be outside on a short bathroom break, perhaps even with their human monitoring them from inside the home. So, before making any reports, always make sure you have observed the situation enough to know the facts and to have formed proper conclusions regarding animal abuse or neglect. If you do ultimately come to the conclusion that an animal is living in unsafe conditions, then do your best to seek help for them.