Because animals cannot speak for themselves, it’s up to US to speak for them and report animal abuse that is witnessed or suspected. While most people treat their pets well, if not like family, some people abuse their pets either through violence or neglect. It is everyone’s job to report if you think an animal is being abused or neglected.
Cruelty can take many different forms ranging from unintentional neglect due to lack of education and/or finances all the way up to and including premeditated cruelty like dog fighting. Use the tips below to familiarize yourself with some signs of animal cruelty.
- Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck.
- Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds, or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated.
- Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible.
- Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites.
- Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails, and dirty coat.
- Weakness, limping, or the inability to stand or walk normally.
- Heavy discharge from eyes or nose.
- An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
- Pets tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter.
- Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around.
Animal cruelty is a crime. Every state now has protection for dogs and cats regarding animal cruelty laws and a majority of states regard abuse as felonies and rightfully so.
If you think someone is abusing animals, please report your suspicions to your local law enforcement agency, humane society / organization or animal control agency.