|Updated: 6/14/2012 9:47 pm
||Published: 6/14/2012 9:09 pm
The President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States is in Little Rock to promote the protection of animals.
Wayne Pacelle hopes to increase awareness of animal abuse. Pacelle says more animals are being abused now than any other period in history.
Dozens of people turned out to the Little Rock Animal Village to hear Pacelle discuss animal cruelty prevention, and to promote his book, "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them."
Pacelle says while two thirds of American households have pets, puppy mills, fur fashion, and industrial farming still contribute to the millions of animal cruelty cases in the country.
The Little Rock Animal Village is always at full capacity with surrendered pets, puppies and kittens born from unwanted litters, abused, neglected and malnourished animals. Shelter Manager Tracy Roark says the mindset of many people is that animals don't have feeling. "They do and people need to understand that."
Pacelle says his mission is to call others to action. He wants to encourage others to volunteer and work with shelters like the Little Rock Animal Village. Roark says more people need to speak up in defense of animals who cannot speak for themselves. "It may be a hording issue, chaining animals, or it may be not watering or feeding them."
Roark and Pacelle are working to educate people about the protection of animals, but Pacelle says there's a stigma that comes with shelter animals. "There's a false notion that somehow the animals in shelters are defective or problematic, however it's usually a human problem that resulted the animal being relinquished."
Pacelle says when people learn to connect with animals, and realize their capacity to love a pet, people will make better choices. "We have to stop getting dogs from puppy mills because that's displacing animals in the adoption pipeline. When you buy a dog from a puppy mill you're contributing to the inhumane treatment of other dogs that are often subjected to a life of confinement, endless breeding, exposure to extreme heat and cold, and denied vet care. It's a simple choice."
Pacelle says there is a much bigger animal cruelty problem in the country. "Institutional problems like puppy mills, organized animal fighting, and industrialized agriculture with animals being jammed into cages and crates barely larger than their bodies."
Little Rock does have an anti-tethering law and animal cruelty is a felony in Arkansas. Roark says cruelty toward animals is an attitude that needs to be stopped. He says the best way to prevent abuse and neglect is to spay and neuter pets to help reduce the pet population.
June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. The Little Rock Animal Village has 50 cats available for $90 each which includes spay and neuter.