What To Do If You Suspect Animal Abuse

Identify animal abuse
Dog rescued from maltreatment, thin and malnourished, animals and abandonment

Animal abuse can happen anywhere at any time. From neglect to hoarding situations to domestic violence abuse, animals often face dangerous surroundings and situations every day. While it’s upsetting to think about or witness, you can do your part to help these animals and prevent animal abuse from happening where you live. The following are a few tips to help you be an advocate for animals in your local area.

Learn the Animal Abuse Signs

In many cases, animal abuse signs are obvious. Sometimes, though, the warning signs of animal abuse may not be so easy to spot. It’s important to know what to look for if you suspect animal cruelty. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), these signs are indicative of animal abuse.

  • Patches of missing or matted hair
  • Flea or tick infestation
  • Malnourished or extremely thin animal
  • Open or healing wounds on the body
  • Limping
  • Someone hitting or abusing an animal
  • Dogs chained in the yard without food or water
  • Dogs left for long periods of time without food or water
  • Dogs hit by cars and not taken care of
  • Outside dogs with no shelter in extreme weather conditions
  • Aggressive or fearful animals in the presence of their owners

Know Who to Call when you Suspect Animal Abuse

Each town, county and state has their own way of investigating and dealing with animal abuse cases. Find out who is responsible for these tasks in your area. It could be the local humane society, an animal control agency or even the police department.

Be Detailed in your Report

If you witness animal abuse, be sure you take accurate notes to make a concise report. Include the dates and times of each incident and get photos if you can. Provide as much detail as possible, and make sure you keep a copy of everything for your own records.

Be Persistent and Follow Up

Once you’ve made a report, don’t be afraid to follow up if you don’t hear anything from the officer assigned to the case within a reasonable amount of time. No one else is going to be an advocate for that poor animal if you don’t follow through with your initial report. If you don’t get a reasonable response, speak with someone higher up in the ranks.

If you suspect animal abuse, or have seen obvious warning signs of it in your area, you need to act fast in order to save the animal(s) from a life of misery and despair. No animal deserves to be abused. Learn what the warning signs are and who to contact. For more information on how to report animal cruelty, look over these Report Animal Cruelty FAQs.

Image: iStockPhoto

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