April: Animal Cruelty Prevention Month


Alex Hindman, Writer

April is the month set aside to raise awareness about how everyday people can prevent animal cruelty. One easy way that anyone can participate is to take the ASPCA’s pledge. Also, you can raise awareness about certain issues on your social media. You can also volunteer your time with organizations like Friends of Rescue or make a lifelong decision to rescue your pets from shelters rather than buying from a breeder.

Recently, the city of Huntsville passed a law to help prevent animal cruelty. Pet owners can’t leave their dogs on chains or other tethers without losing custody of their pet. The law also imposes a hefty fine $300 if it isn’t followed.

This may come as a surprise to some, but tethering falls under animal cruelty. An animal such as a dog could live out its entire life on the end of a 3-foot chain leash outside, possibly exposing them to the elements with nowhere to take refuge and even being neglected entirely. The new ordinance also states that pets must be in a fenced enclosure while outside on your property if you are not accompanying it; you can’t leave your dog out in an open yard. The pen must be at least 200 square feet. This is fairly reasonable, except for the people that simply can’t afford fences.

To help mitigate this problem, the Rocket City has been doing something quite spectacular; they are offering to install dog runners for free. This not only helps those that can’t afford to get a pen or fence themselves, but it also reduces the massive influx of animals being surrendered to the animal shelters in the area, which was caused by the ordinance going into effect March 1. The shelter has spent $5,000 on materials to accomplish this generous, omni-benefitting project, all earned through donations. Hopefully, this will have a significant impact on everyone financially and emotionally and help keep the pets with their owners.

The law also adds the following common sense: “Outdoor pets [must] have access to clean, fresh water and proper food and animals must also have a structurally sound, water and windproof shelter.

Currently, this ordinance does not extend to the city of Madison, but you can contact your local legislature or city council to suggest it.