Animal cruelty is a crime in every state in the US. If you witness or hear about animal abuse, animal neglect or animal fight, report it to your local or state police department. You should also contact your animal control agency, the SPCA and Humane Society. If it’s an emergency, call 911.
What Constitutes Cruelty
- Neglect – denying an animal adequate food, water, shelter (a dog house) medical care (has apparent injuries that have not been treated), clean area, socialization (is the animal aggressive or timid when approached by owner), or chained up in a yard.
- Violence – deliberately torturing, beating, mutilating an animal.
- Crime - Almost all acts of violence or negligence to animals are punishable by law. Laws vary not only from state to state but from region to region.
Get as much information as you can to give to the authorities. Document the incident with photos or videos of the location, animal(s) involved and surrounding area. Be as detailed as possible. Dates, times, circumstances and statements from other people who have witnessed the cruelty should be noted and related to the authorities.
Provide the authorities with written documentation and always keep a copy for yourself. Keep careful record of who you spoke with, date, content and outcome of discussion. Ask what action is planned.
When calling to report animal cruelty, be sure to include the following:
- Name of the person you believe is involved, if known.
- Is this person the owner of the animal(s)?
- Exact address and city where the animal is located. If you have a zip code it is helpful. If you do not have the precise address, give cross streets or accurate directions to the site.
- What type of animal? dog, cat, horse, etc.
- How many animals may be involved?
- What type of cruelty are you reporting? neglect, violence.
- Is it an owned animal(s) or a stray(s)?
- Be sure to leave your full name and contact information.
Don’t assume the situation was addressed. Always follow-up with the officer in charge of the case to inquire about progress of the investigation. If dissatisfied, request to have a meeting to discuss the situation further or ask to speak to a supervisor. You may be the only hope for this animal. His life could depend on you.