Cruelty towards animals can occur at any time of year and within any community. This month is a special time of year because it is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and is dedicated to bring awareness to the cruel and unjustifiable acts animals endure that shouldn’t exist in any civilized society. Also, by being aware of what could possibly be occurring in your community, you could support local animal care centers such as the Nassau County SPCA.
The Nassau County SPCA is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect animals in Nassau County from abuse and neglect, to provide basic needs and to prosecute anyone connected to such crimes. They hold special jurisdiction to carry out New York State Agriculture & Markets Law, including all other state and local humane laws. They are the only animal protection organization officially appointed to handle these cases within Nassau County.
According to the Nassau County SPCA Board President Gary Rogers, the people in every community can do their part by reporting their concerns of any animal to the Nassau County SPCA regardless if the concerned individual is unsure there are signs of abuse and neglect.
“If you have any doubt at all, we would rather that you call the Nassau County SPCA and report it because we’d rather go out and look to see that it’s nothing than somebody not report something and it absolutely be animal cruelty,” Rogers stated.
A way to combat animal cruelty is to learn the signs of abuse and what steps to take when doubting an animal’s well-being.
Here are common signs displayed in various animal cruelty cases:
- Animal is infested with ticks or fleas.
- Visible wounds on the body that remain untreated.
- Patches of missing hair or mange.
- Looks extremely thin or sickly looking.
- Unexplained fractures or limping.
- An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
- Often left alone without food or water, often left in a kennel or chained outside (especially without shelter in extreme weather conditions).
- Cowers in fear or acts aggressively when approached by their owners or other individuals.
The Nassau County SPCA is majorly volunteer based, including the humane officers.
“It’s crucial to have the support of people who are willing to donate their time to help our animals recover from the trauma that they’ve been [through],” Nassau County SPCA Executive Director Maria Mora said. “It’s important that we have teams of volunteers to help socialize the animals and get them ready for adoption. The great thing about our rescue is that we rescue anything from reptiles [to] small animals like ferrets and rabbits, birds, and obviously dogs and cats,” As the season changes to warmer temperatures, an increased number of cases of abuse and neglect are to be expected.
“We see more calls being reported during the summer months when it’s during very warm days,” Rogers said. “We [also] see more calls come in during stormy days. That’s if the dog has been outside and has no shelter. We hope people would call then, some people just wait and keep putting off calling. When the weather is really bad, they would then decide to call. Sometimes we can rectify the situation long before that animal has to be out there suffering in incessant weather.”
The Nassau County SPCA works closely with various communities in the county, such as Glen Cove, East Meadow, Syosset, Mineola, Hempstead and Westbury.
“We cover the whole county,” Rogers explained. “There’s not one specific town that has our area. We’re responding to calls all over the place. We work very closely with the Glen Cove Police Department and also with Nassau County Police Department.”
The Nassau County SPCA is always open to volunteers of various ages. If under 15 years old, a parent must accompany you. If 15 years old or older, a parent is not required to join you.
“We have an array of animals that people can help volunteer with,” Mora said. “The other thing we always say is [to] adopt. If you can open your home to an animal in need, that is one of the most amazing things that you can help in terms of rescuing an animal. If you can’t volunteer and you can’t adopt, you can certainly make a donation, whether it is to support us financially or to support us with supplies that we might need, like bedding, towels, [different types of] pet food, reptile supplies, things like that.”
If you decide to make a financial donation to the Nassau County SPCA, keep in mind that they are not affiliated with the ASPCA. Any donations made to the ASPCA do not get distributed to the Nassau County SPCA.
“People need to be aware that we are [all] guardians for these animals,” Rogers said. “When you see an animal that looks like it’s in trouble, you should report it. Also, before you go out to bring an animal to your home, you have to realize that is a 15 year commitment. That animal is going to depend on you for everything in their life.”
The hotline for the Nassau County SPCA is 516-843-7722. Visit www.nassaucountyspca.org/ for more information.