Prevent, Recognize and Report!

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. Learn the signs and signals that will help you recognize if an animal is being abused.

By | Posted: April 10, 2012, 8 p.m. EDT

ASPCA experts explain that timid, fearful, or aggressive qualities in pets don't always mean they were abused. A pet's behavior should never be the lone reason to suspect abuse.

Kristen Collins from the ASPCA's Animal Behavior Center says examining the animal's surroundings provides greater insight than animal’s behavior.

Environmental signs to look out for include:

  • Pets tied up outside for any great length of time without enough food or water
  • Animals kept in an area with garbage, feces, and objects that could cause them harm
  • Kennels or cages which are too small
  • Pets outside during inclement weather without shelter
  • Pets housed with too many other animals

Additional signs of abuse can be present on the animal itself. Be alert to such physical abuse warning signs as:

  • Open or untreated wounds
  • Flea infested fur
  • Weakness, limpness, and inability to walk properly
  • Matted fur, overgrown or dirty coat and nails; signs of inadequate grooming
  • A collar which is too tight
  • Signs of extreme drowsiness or confusion
  • Scaly, patchy, or bumpy skin and rashes

Many innocent animals are neglected or abused by their caretakers. Help ensure that animals in need are assisted by reporting suspected animal abuse.

Call your local humane society or police department, even anonymously, to report animal cruelty. When reporting animal abuse, try and provide the agent with a written account of what you witnessed and approximate times if possible.


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Ellen   Marysville, MI

5/8/2012 10:03:55 AM

What do I do.? My husband has my dogs tied up in a divorce and the only one we managed to get released went back to my co-owner with worms, flees and worst of all LICE. I have the vet. bills stating all and still I have none of my dogs returned. He is a dog show judge and the other dog people don't seam to care how I miss, feel or worrie about them. The police got me out but I could not be allowed back as might actually kill me and they wouldn't be able to stop him.I love and raised them with my love and they saved my llife when he tried to poison me, in Mississippi.. They knocked the poison food out of my hands and barried it growing and barking at it. I am 70 years old and have only my SS to live on till this is over I don't even have my own cloths. What can I do. Help!

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sheri   akron, OH

4/21/2012 5:33:44 AM

i rescued a chiauwa. we saw an old conversion van driving slowly down my street. they opened the drivers door and threw out this dog. it was soooo scared and was holding up its front leg. this happened at 8:30 am. it took me til 1:30 to get it to come close. in the mean time i called the animal warden. he just drove by. i called the humane society. they told me that it i coulnt catch it and confine it for at least 3 hours or more they wouldnt bother. i called paws and prayers. a place ive adopted pets before and they didnt have the funds. i have 2 dogs and 2 cats and could not afford a vet bill for this poor dog. my 5 year old granddaughter finally laid down on the grass and the dog came up and laid beside her. after some time she would let me near her. i covered her with a towel and picked her up. poor thing was soooo scared. i supported her leg and had my daughter drive me to the local pound. they took her. it brooke my heart. i called the next day. relucantly they told me she only had soft tissue damage and was on paid meds id love to adopt her but the one dog i have is a 11 mo old dogo. im still training him and am a little learly. this little thing is about 10 pounds. i was so upset not only what happened to this poor little thing but the agencies who claim to care and help werent there for this little dog. i hope people read this and start raising hell. im an animal person and will never give money to the humane society or any others again. dismayed in akron, ohio.

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Charlene   Mountville, PA

4/20/2012 12:14:20 PM

Very helpful article. There are still millions of people who have no clue what goes on. We have an orginization in our area called ORCA. They get results. We are lucky to have them. Thanks for your help. Charlene

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victoria   englewood, NJ

4/19/2012 6:24:21 PM

I reported a case of animal abuse to the ASPCA on a friend/neighbor of mine and not much was done in this case.......and I got a lot of flack from it. I had good reason to report it but it was dismissed with no follow up.

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