Document everything, and four other tips to help identify and report potential animal abuse
Every 10 seconds an animal is abused or beaten. That's according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Here are five ways you can help fight animal cruelty in your veterinary practice, according to the ASPCA.
1. Befriend the law. Form a relationship with the law enforcement officers in your area before you need their help. At the first signs of cruelty, you'll feel more comfortable seeking their assistance.
2. Pay attention to your patients. Look for wounds on your patients' bodies, patches of missing hair, limping, or rapid weight loss—these could all be indicators of abuse.
3. Get a second opinion. As soon as you become suspicious of abuse, get another veterinarian or team member to check out the patient. Having multiple witnesses can only help your case.
4. Document everything. Perform and record complete physical examinations on all of your patients. Then you'll have proof to back up the rapid weight loss, hair loss, and so on.
5. Report the abuse. It's your duty to first and foremost protect the safety of your patients. Don't discuss your suspicions with the media, but alert the law enforcement officers in your area. Just like it's your duty to report the crime, it's their duty to investigate.