Learn how to be a better Good Samaritan for pets at the Sunbear Squad web site.

Be a Good Samaritan for Pets

In memory of Sunbear

This is Beau, a young chocolate lab, like Sunbear was.

Prepare to rescue an animal in distress

Click to view video introduction to the Sunbear Squad web site.

Prepare now to help animals in need. Animal abuse, neglect, and distress is epidemic, is often institutionally supported, and is worldwide. You may find animals in distress in your own neighborhood. Be prepared to take reasonable, safe action to help them. Sunbear needed help and didn't get it; he died tragically from neglect. This site is dedicated to his memory to encourage you to be a Good Samaritan.

Adopt a "watch and listen" mindset, so you can "call" the authorities sooner. Use your eyes and ears and call the authorities immediately if you suspect an animal welfare problem. Let them decide what to do, unless an immediate threat to life requires you to take action. Complete 3 steps:

Learn about animal welfare risk factors that contribute to animal abuse and neglect. Read our 10-minute tutorial to gain more confidence in making decisions and taking action.

Complete the downloadable wallet card and carry it with you.

Fill out a downloadable wallet card to keep handy the animal welfare phone numbers you trust to uphold compassionate animal welfare standards, so urgent calls are more convenient and quick. Make copies for your friends and family.

Carry a Roadside Rescue Kit of simple household articles packed in your vehicle and ready for use to help animals in distress.

Research your local municipality's ordinances here at this national USA code library. Find your state laws regarding animal neglect and abuse here.

Thank you for your every effort to report animal abuse, animal neglect, accidents, and distress. Encourage your friends and family to do the same! Send them a link to this web site: .

ABOUT THE MORTGAGE CRISIS: it has also created a crisis for some household pets of foreclosed-upon owners. The former homeowners leave their pets behind, trapped in empty homes, because they can't take their pets with them for various reasons. They don't understand that weeks or months may elapse before agents inspect the home. Please take action when a home is foreclosed upon in your neighborhood. Be a Good Samaritan. Go stand near the home and call out repeatedly for the pet; it may bark or meow or come to the window. Listen closely in case the pet is trapped in a closet and look in windows for signs of life. Do this several days in a row because some traumatized pets may be frightened, too frightened to respond at first. You may save a life!

Understand the risks

At this very moment animals are kept in cruel, neglectful environments in neighborhoods and rural areas across America. Often they are within sight or hearing range of neighbors. Yet they perish every day, because no one called the authorities, or worse, because authorities would not or could not act. Gene Fields, Sunbear's defender and animal control officer, said that is the most frustrating part of his job: finding suffering pets near neighbors who didn't call or take action. Read Gene's action guidelines.

Pets from loving homes get into trouble, too. They might stray from the yard or become injured in traffic. They might have escaped while traveling—a frequent occurrance.

Your observations can make the difference between life and death. Here are some high-risk situations to watch for:

  • Neighbors, when households move in or out, watch and listen for trapped pets in sheds, garages, homes, basements. This is a common occurrance! Sunbear was trapped for 6 weeks in a townhouse laundry room when his owner left town to start a new job.
  • Walkers, runners, and delivery drivers, make a practice of observing the condition of pets as you go on your regular routes.
  • Commuters and shoppers, keep an eye on roadsides, ditches and culverts. Pets that appear to be dead may not be, so if you can stop safely, do so and check for signs of life. Hit-and-run drivers speed away, condemning injured dogs and cats to suffer and die alone.
  • Always be alert for intentional abuse of animals: beatings, shootings, cruel restraints, poisonings, and worse. Animal abuse is directly linked to violence against wives and children as well. You absolutely MUST call the authorities immediately.
  • Spread the word. Send your humane society, animal shelter, law enforcement and animal welfare friends a link to this web site.

What stops some people from calling to report animal abuse or distress?

They may be busy, distracted, and unprepared, lacking phone numbers. They may not recognize the physical appearance of an emaciated, dehydrated, or sick animal. They might be unsure of what to do, or they fear getting involved. Personal safety may be a concern.

The Sunbear Squad has a purpose: to remove these concerns and prepare everyone to call immediately to save an animal's life. We want everyone to be a better "Good Samaritan for Pets." Always report animal abuse, neglect, and distress to your humane society, animal rescue, or law enforcement agency.

Be a Good Samaritan. Always watch and listen for animals in distress, and call the authorities if you suspect a problem.

Call 9-1-1

You may call 9-1-1 if a crime of an emergency nature is occurring. Violation of animal cruelty laws is a punishable crime in most states. If you witness a violent crime against an animal, try calling 9-1-1. Read about felony laws in your state, published by American Humane.

Read our Bill of Rights for Pets...

...for a thoughtful look at your role as a pet owner and guardian.

A Prayer for Animals

All creatures are created from the same paternal heartbeat of God. Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission—to be of service to them wherever they require it. If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.

St. Francis of Assisi