Pets are very popular on the internet. Whether it’s viral cat videos or memes about dogs, it’s almost impossible to scan the average Twitter feed or Facebook timeline without seeing a furry face staring out at you. But it’s not just cute images that are being shared.
Social media has become an incredibly important platform for sharing animal news especially when it pertains to our pets’ safety. Lost dog and cat posts can quickly go viral on a national scale via Twitter and Facebook. Not only does this put people in the relevant region on alert to look out for the missing pet, but it can make it harder to sell a pet if it has been stolen. As a result the animals are sometimes quickly reunited with their owners.
Bad news travels fast, and that’s certainly the case when users identify a threat in their local area. Last year in Leeds a dog walker found marshmallows stuffed with rat poison, ball bearings and screws that had been littered around parks by an unknown culprit. The story quickly spread around social media so local dog walkers could be extra careful.
Just last month two cats were shot in Calne with some kind of airgun. Both had to undergo surgery to remove the pellets and there was a third incident in Wroughton where a cat had to be put to sleep as a result of its injuries. The Calne Police used Facebook to appeal for information, and many pet owners took it as a cue to pay special attention to their cat’s whereabouts.
In Baxenden, there are fears that a ‘serial cat killer’ is on the loose after six cats have died after eating food contaminated with anti-freeze. The deaths are all considered to be suspicious and local cat owners are on high alert, choosing to keep their felines indoors.
If these acts aren’t unconscionable enough, the RPSCA has issued a warning after hearing reports of poisoned sausages being left for pets to find in Denbighshire.
These actions would be unthinkable to most people, pet owners or not. Tragically, however, there is a small number of people out there who seem to want to harm our pets. While stories in the news of owners mistreating their own pets are, unfortunately, all too common, it’s bizarre and incomprehensible that there are individuals whose objective seems to be to indiscriminately injure or kill as many pets as they can.
It’s times like these when social media becomes more than just a way to talk about the good times; it’s a way to make warnings and alerts spread to the right people, quickly. They say bad news travels fast, and when our pets are in danger it makes sense to use this to our advantage.