Tag Archives: abuse

What to Do if You Suspect an Animal Is Being Abused

The good news: all fifty states have laws against animal cruelty.  The bad news: the law is only as good as the people who report animal cruelty.  If you witness an animal being abused or suspect cruelty, it’s imperative you report the abuse.  More likely than not, you’re the only hope for the animal to get help, as well as for charges being filed against the abuser.

And animal abuse is not something to take lightly, by any means.  Animal abuse typically signifies other types of abuse. For instance, one study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes where child abuse had been discovered.  Another study found that up to 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also abuse the family pet.  In fact, animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse people.


If you do witness animal abuse, what exactly are the steps to take?  Who should you call? Seeing an animal be abused is traumatic, but being prepared helps.  Here is a handy breakdown of what to do.  Remember it’s important to always speak up but please be prepared so you don’t put yourself (or others) in dangers!

First, Call Your Local Animal Control Agency

Always contact a professional first.  If you are unfamiliar with local organizations, dial 911.  Animal control agencies are required to investigate if a report of alleged animal cruelty is made, according to the Humane Society of the United States.  One Green Planet also offers the largest database of local hotlines to help rescue abandoned, injured, stranded, sick, and lost animals in need.  It’s important to contact a professional first before you potentially endanger yourself.  While it’s hard to see animal abuse, don’t try to steal the animal because then you could be charged with trespassing.

Document the Abuse 

Documenting the abuse in as much detail is crucial.  Take note of dates, times, any specific details.  Any photos or videos can also be helpful when agencies conduct an investigation.  But please don’t put yourself in danger.  Don’t enter someone else’s property and use caution when approaching an animal who may be frightened or in pain, according to the ASPCA.

Follow Up

Be persistent!  If you’re not getting answers from law-enforcement officers, ask for their supervisor’s contact information.  According to PETA, if you have personally witnessed an act of animal cruelty, you can go directly to your local magistrate or police commissioner and ask for a warrant to summon the abuser to court.  The animal rights organization also notes that expert witnesses can be helpful, such as a veterinarian signing a statement that in his or her “expert opinion”.

And what exactly is animal cruelty?

The ASPCA also offers a comprehensive list of physical signs, as well as environmental signs of cruelty to be on the look out for.  Be sure to review the below lists so you know animal abuse when you see it!

Physical Signs of Cruelty

  • Tight collar that has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet’s neck
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn’t being treated
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
  • Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails, and dirty coat
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental Signs of Cruelty

  • Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
  • Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
  • Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
  • Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements

Animal Cruelty Seen on the Internet

The Internet can be a wonderful place for helping dogs find homes, get cat care tips and more but unfortunately, the Internet also always for many dangers for our furry friends.


First, you’ll have to find the background information for the particular website.  You can visit WhoIs and perform a search of the site.  Then, contact the website’s ISP (Internet service provider) to report the animal abuse.  If you believe the animal is an immediate danger, contact the offender’s local FBI branch, based on the WhoIs search.

You Are Their Voice 

Just the thought of animal abuse is enough to bring any animal lover to tears.  Tragic stories involving humans abusing animals seem to make headlines on a daily basis. Reading these stories can be difficult and make you feel as if no progress is being made to save and protect all the animals humans interact with or take responsibility for. Without voices to speak up for themselves or proper laws (and enforcement of the laws that do exist) to shield them from neglect or physical abuse, it is up to us to step in and do all we can to end the violence.  This involves speaking out and raising awareness for animals who are the victims of abuse and also even working help get laws changed or improved on a state or national level.

Please share this article within your network so others can also learn what to do if they see animal abuse!  It’s important to always speak up for those we cannot.

Lead image source: behumann34/Pixabay

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Cruelty in Dallas

A Chihuahua puppy died after being thrown from car


Another incident linking domestic abuse to animal cruelty.

According to Thursday’s CBS DFW News, a six-week-old puppy died instantly after being hurled from a fast-moving vehicle on Interstate 20 in Parker County, Texas.

The Parker County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release which announced the Tuesday arrest of the man believed to be responsible for the act of animal cruelty. The suspect, Marquael Odoric Greer, 32, of Lancaster, was identified by his girlfriend, 33-year-old Shaquitha Pratt.

According to Pratt, last Friday she and Greer were in the midst of a heated argument while traveling at a high rate of speed on Interstate 20.  Pratt told the authorities that Greer grabbed the tiny Chihuahua puppy from her lap and hurled him out the window of the moving car, causing the pup’s death.  Pratt also told the authorities that she was physically assaulted by the man.

Responding deputies found the puppy’s body alongside the interstate and determined that he likely died instantly.  On Tuesday, Greer was located in Dallas and arrested on a charge of felony cruelty to non-livestock animals – he was taken to jail.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said the puppy’s death is the latest incident proving that:

“Parker County does not have an animal problem. We have a people problem.”

Sheriff: Man Threw Puppy From Speeding Vehicle

109008152 Sheriff: Lancaster Man Threw Girlfriends Puppy From Speeding Vehicle
Domestic abuse leads to animal abuse.
Intentional abuse in any form should be taken seriously.
Knowing that there is a Link, agencies involved in preventing family violence need to work together for a more effective,
species-spanning response.
The Link“.
* * * * * * *

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Fourteen year old girl beats puppy with shovel, sets on fire

Recent disturbing local news reminded us that animal cruelty is in our own backyard.  Literally. Maria Alarcon-Suarez’s 14-year old daughter beat their black lab puppy, Phoenix, on the head with a shovel, then set him on fire.  While neighbors watched.  Then, Maria Alarcon-Suarez watched as the dog rolled around crying, whimpering and terrified until the fire was out.  But I’m not done.  Maria Alarcon-Suarez then waited a day before seeking medical attention for this dog whose third-degree burn injuries were sustained over 40% of his body.  Once at the vet, Maria Alarcon-Suarez lied, stating the dog was a stray.

1.  You have a daughter who beats a dog on the head.

2.  You have a daughter who sets fire to helpless dog.

3.  You wait a day before taking this sweet, suffering dog to the vet.

4.  You LIE to the vet.

5.  You have serious issues.

For people who know me you know how difficult its been not to swear in this column.  Very.

People, I have news for you:  Jeffrey Dahmer started out torturing animals.  Ted Bundy started out torturing animals.  Charles Manson started out torturing animals.  Maria Alarcon-Suarez has a future serial killer on her hands.  And what was done to her 14-year old inhumane, disgusting excuse for a human-being daughter?  Nothing.  Nothing.

I work with an organization called Chain of Hope.  We see a lot of animal cruelty.  A lot.  And I can tell you we’ve been to this neighborhood and people in ‘this neighborhood’ don’t care about animals, they don’t even care about humans.  Obviously, the neighbors watched while this girl beat and set fire to the ‘family dog.’  Notice I say ‘family dog’ because in these neighborhoods the dogs are kept on chains and rarely given a second thought.  Too bad for Phoenix on this particular day she was given a second thought by a mentally unstable, cruel and malicious 14-year old girl.

I pray every day that God takes away the pain from animals when they’re being tortured.  Yet, having looked into the eyes of hundreds of dogs who have been abused, I know this isn’t the case.  I know they feel every ounce of pain being intentionally inflicted on them.  I know the pain, fear and confusion they feel when looking into the eyes of their ‘owner’ for whom they’d do anything, as they are being beaten.

It sickens me.  I can’t believe in 2011 we allow animal abuse, animal cruelty and animal neglect to take place at the rate and magnitude it does and yet, nothing happens to the awful people to inflict it.

The media has covered this relentlessly which is a sign that animal cruelty is not and will not be tolerated.

Maria Alarcon-Suarez, I hope you take responsibility for having allowed this to happen and not doing anything about it.  I can only imagine what you’ve done to your daughter, or allowed to be done, for her to even consider this horrible act of violence upon an innocent being.

A side note: whenever there is an animal cruelty case in the media, public outcry is amazing: donations to the vet/shelter treating the animal, foster homes, adoption applications, etc.  Please, people, remember that certain vets and shelters always need financial donations as well as supplies and there is always always always a need for foster homes and adoptive families.  The list of animals awaiting homes in Kansas City alone is more than 100,000, please don’t wait until there is a popular news story.  Adopt an animal today.  And if you’re in a financial situation that allows you to, make a donation to a shelter or rescue group.

, Kansas City Animal Advocacy Examiner


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