Animal abuse is an epidemic and can affect an adopted pet's behavior and health

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a responsible and loving pet owner who wants the best for their furry companion. If everyone felt this way, the world would be a better place, but unfortunately, animal cruelty continues to happen every day.

Animal abuse and neglect can take many forms and may occur for different reasons; situations can range from a lack of financial resources or education to mental illness or premeditated cruelty (e.g., dog fighting rings). Knowing how to identify abuse is key to protecting these vulnerable animals.

Signs of Animal Abuse or Neglect

Signs an animal is being abused or neglected are often physical and can include any of the following:

  • Open wounds or signs of multiple healed wounds
  • Any physical ailment that isn’t being treated
  • Poor skin conditions, such as patches of hair loss, extremely matted fur, scaly skin, rashes, bumps, or a very dirty/unkempt coat
  • Extreme emaciation to the point where ribs and other bones are visible (weight loss can occur naturally in senior animals, so this is not always a sign of neglect)
  • Limping or difficulty standing/walking
  • Untreated flea or tick infestations
  • Tight fitting collar or chain that’s become embedded in the animal’s neck

Environmental Considerations

In many cases, animal abuse or neglect can be identified based on the conditions in which the animal is living:

  • Tied up or chained outdoors for long periods of time
  • Kept outside in extreme heat or cold
  • Living in a cramped cage or kennel with little room to stand or turn around
  • Multiple animals housed together in cramped living conditions
  • Foul odors emanating from a home where many animals are living
  • Animals are housed outdoors in areas littered with feces or garbage

Friends in Need

Helping to protect abused and neglected animals is your obligation as a responsible citizen, and it helps make our city a better place to live. Remember, you may be an animal’s only advocate, so reporting a case of suspected abuse or neglect could save a life.

To report a suspected case of animal cruelty, call 311 (call 911 if you witness a crime against an animal in action). Providing as many details as possible, including the dates, times, and locations of suspected abuse, will help officers in their investigation.

At Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital, we’re committed partners in the fight against animal abuse. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding animal cruelty or neglect.