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

Know the Risk Factors
for Animal Neglect and
Animal Abuse

Click to view video introduction to the Sunbear Squad Risk Factors for animal neglect and animal abuse.

Some situations, like moving and travel, are more likely to result in lost, neglected, abused, or injured pets. Read about the risk factors below for a more complete understanding of risks. Be aware of pets in your neighborhood who are at risk. Be a Good Samaritan for pets.

A note 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 and watch 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!

  • Moving households—pets get trapped behind closed doors because they follow their owners everywhere when they sense that something is going on, and then the door shuts in their faces by accident
  • Traveling with pets, who slip out a car door, get confused by unfamiliar surroundings, and run away because they are afraid
  • Living next to busy highways—pets are injured or killed by vehicles
  • Outside and farm dogs are at high risk for neglect in three ways: lack of food or water, lack of veterinary care, and exposure to extreme weather (heat, cold, storms)
  • Dogs kept in large numbers, such as hunting or sled dogs, have a higher risk of neglect or bad living conditions
  • Pets living in abusive households—the link between wife abusers and child/pet abusers is proven and common
  • Pets waiting in parked cars on hot days—6 minutes or less is all it can take to heat your car interior above 100 degrees
  • Dogs and cats that roam at will, without wearing collars and tags
  • Dogs who have not been obedience-trained or house-trained are more likely to be dumped or kept on a chain or in a kennel
  • Thunderstorms and fireworks that scare pets into running away
  • Give-away pets—many end up in product-testing facilities
  • Drug houses—addicted pet owners forget about feeding and watering their pets, or skimp on food to save money for drugs; worse, dogs are sometimes trained to attack strangers
This is Buster, a chocolate lab, like Sunbear was.

"They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth."

Henry Beston