We have a social responsibility to take care of each other, and that includes animals. Because our furry, feathered and scaly friends can’t protect themselves from abuse by humans, it is our job to act as protectors and stop animal cruelty whenever we see it.
Animal cruelty happens when someone endangers the life and/or well being of an animal; this may include violence, neglect or abandonment, and applies to all animals whether they are in a home, zoo, farm or the wild.
Dealing with Unintentional Animal Cruelty
Sometimes, people may not be aware of their behavior or the impact it has on animals. Even people with the best intentions can experience lapses in judgment or go through difficult times in their lives, interfering with their ability to care for their companion animals.
Failing to provide proper nourishment or shelter, not taking Rex out for days for a routine walk or not cleaning Ginger’s litter box for weeks are forms of animal cruelty. If you notice a neighbor, a co-worker, or a friend failing to properly care for their pet, point the problem out to them and offer to help in any way you can. Explain the issue calmly but sternly, and offer guidance on how to improve the situation. Then monitor their actions to ensure follow-through.
When to Report Animal Cruelty
If you see someone beating animals, starving them, chaining them for long periods of time, running puppy mills or arranging dog fights for their personal gain, it’s best to report the situation and let the authorities take control.
Try to provide documentation, such as photos, if possible – but never put yourself or others in danger while collecting this evidence. The resources below will point you toward the authorities who will best be able to help:
To Report Animal Cruelty and Abuse
- USDA’s Interactive Map of Local Animal Cruelty Enforcement Agencies: The website contains an interactive map that will direct you to local law enforcement or animal control offices, where you can call to report animal cruelty.
- Animal Legal Defense Fund: Link to download a mobile app to report animal cruelty.
- Animals Abused: This is a dogfighting hotline.
Website: Animals Abused Phone: 877-847-4787
- FBI: This site can be used to report animal cruelty seen on the internet
Website: FBI ic3
- American Humane Association: To report animal cruelty seen on television or movies
Website: American Humane Phone: 818-501-0123
- Humane Society of the United States: This is a tip line to help end puppy mills.
Website: Humane Society Phone: 1-877-645-5847
- Tufts University, School of Veterinary Medicine – Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium (HARC): This resource is to help report animal hoarding.
- WeTip: This is an anonymous hotline where you can report a wide array of abuses, including animal cruelty.
Website: WeTip Phone: 1-800-78-CRIME
To Learn About Animal Cruelty Laws:
- Animal Legal Defense Fund: A source to research animal cruelty laws by state, and learn about past and present animal cruelty legal cases.
Website: ALDF.org Phone: 707-795-2533
- Animal Law: A site that allows you to learn more about your state’s laws. It provides a table of reporting animal cruelty in the United States.
- ASPCA: A great resource for pet rescue, placement and protection.
- Petfinder: Locate your nearest shelter or rescue organization to find out more about your local laws. You can also download the petfinder app to your mobile device.
- USDA: The Animal and Plant Health inspection Service (APHIS) branch of the USDA is a comprehensive resource to finding out everything there is to know about how to keep all types of animals safe.
Website: USDA Phone: 1-844-820-2234