This page is Dedicated to Anne Springer, animal advocate, dog trainer, humanitarian. RIP, your impact and wisdom were great.
Definition and Summary
NOTE FROM AUTHOR
As sentient beings, animals deserve to live without fear and abuse. Some believe the connection to human violence makes animal abuse a more significant priority, while others believe animals should simply be protected against abuse and cruelty because they live, breathe, feel, and problem-solve. Animals often become targets of abuse in homes where domestic violence exists, and victims are often reluctant to leave if it means leaving a pet behind. Mistreatment of a family pet can be a red flag for family violence. This section will discuss abuse of all animals, to include companion animals, working animals, wildlife, and farm animals.
I also want to highlight the lack of regulation in the companion animal industry and the role it plays in the mistreatment of our pets. Lack of regulation means fields such as training, pet sitting, grooming, daycares, and other pet-related services can be performed by anyone regardless of appropriate instruction or education. This lack of regulation has led to widespread misinformation and ill-informed consumers, with our pets paying a steep price. When providers lack science-based training and knowledge they are free to make any claim they want about the success or failure of their methods, and thus perpetuate myths about how animals learn. Tools such as prong collars, the use of shock, pain, and coercion are often touted as legitimate ‘training’ devices, but inflicting pain and fear on animals is not only inhumane and abusive, such tactics merely serve to shut an animal down. This isn’t training, it’s learned helplessness. Best practices avoid aversive treatment and instead place emphasis on learning theory, using reward rather than punishment. As with all forms of abuse, the use of power and control is evident in the aversive methods so often used with companion animals. In the ‘resources’ section you’ll find links to help guardians make better choices that are not only more humane, they are supported by science.
“Animal cruelty can be either deliberate abuse or simply the failure to take care of an animal. Either way, and whether the animal is a pet, a farm animal or wildlife, the victim can suffer terribly. Don’t despair, though—anyone can take steps against cruelty.” Excerpt from the Humane Society of the United States. Continue reading here.
COMPANION ANIMALS/TRAINING & SERVICES
Pet Professional Guild (PPG)
PPG: Find a Force-Free Pet Professional
PPG: Dominance Theory
PPG: Position Statements and Open Letters
PPG: Project Trade
Video: Alpha Males Do Not Exist (enjoy this fun and informative video!)
Victoria Stilwell, POSITIVELY: Dogs Are Not Wolves Trying to Dominate Us – Myths and Truths
Victoria Stilwell, POSITIVELY: Pack Theory Debunked
Whole Dog Journal: De-Bunking the ‘Alpha Dog’ Theory
Diamonds in the Ruff: Positive Dog Prison Training Program
Victoria Stilwell, POSITIVELY: Progressive Zoos Don’t Use Punishment, Why Should You?
ASPCA: A Closer Look at Puppy Mills
Animal Welfare Institute: Puppy Mills
HSUS: Puppy Mills
Animal Legal Defense Fund: Puppy Mills Require Ongoing Legislative Attention
The Hill: Humane Society – USDA records on puppy mills missing from website