04/01/2011 - By Gayle Irwin
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April is recognized by animal welfare organizations as "Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month". According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which was chartered in April 1866, there are many signs that an animal might be being abused or neglected:
• Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated
• Extreme thinness or emaciation
• Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
• An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
• Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
• Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
• Pets tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
• Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
There are other signs as well. To learn more, visit
If you believe an animal is being abused or neglected in the Casper area, report your suspicions to Metro Animal Control. Wyoming does have animal cruelty laws, and just this session the Legislature passed a bill establishing a fund in the amount of $100,000 to help communities combat cruelty; Governor Mead signed the legislation.
Wyoming's original statute, enacted a few years ago, states that cruelty to animals is, among other things: "knowingly and with intent to cause death, injury or undue suffering…or unnecessarily or cruelly beats, tortures, torments, injures, mutilates or attempts to kill an animal… or unnecessarily fails to provide it with the proper food, drink or protection from the weather, or cruelly abandons the animal, or in the case of immediate, obvious, serious illness or injury, fails to provide the animal with appropriate care."
There are varying degrees of cruelty, according Wyoming's law. Aggravated animal addresses fighting issues: "Owns, possesses, keeps or trains fowls or dogs with the intent to allow the dog or fowl to engage in an exhibition of fighting with another dog or fowl or attends, permits or promotes such an event." Felony cruelty is defined as "knowingly and with intent to cause death, injury or undue suffering, cruelly beats, tortures, torments, injures or mutilates an animal resulting in the death or required euthanasia of the animal."
Convictions for any of these offenses can result in fines and imprisonment.
Cruelty to animals is against the law, period, and it's not something that just happens somewhere else. We can all be a voice for the voiceless and take a stand whenever we believe an animal is being subjected to cruelty and neglect. Let's be a caring community for animals, not a cruel one.
To read Wyoming's anti-cruelty law, 6-3-203, visit
To read the bill introduced and signed during the 2011 Legislature, visit http://legisweb.state.wy.us/2011/bills/SF0100.pdf
Gayle Irwin is a freelance writer and a speaker in schools and libraries. Her publication credits include two childrenپfs books about her blind dog, Sage and two stories in different Chicken Soup for the Soulbooks. She also recently created an ebook with tips and encouragement for blind dog owners available at www.blinddogbook.com. Learn more about Mrs. Irwin and her stories and presentations at www.gaylemirwin.com.