Home | Animal Rescue | Animal Cruelty and Abuse – Understanding the Law and Reporting Violators

Animal Cruelty and Abuse – Understanding the Law and Reporting Violators

Lab_animal_careDespite the many people and groups involved in animal welfare and conservation, the sad fact is that animal abuse and neglect remains a serious problem USA.  Unfortunately, the relevant laws are quite confusing and lack uniformity, and it is often difficult which agency is responsible for enforcing them.  It is worthwhile, however, to learn as much as you can about how to proceed – most enforcement authorities are poorly staffed, and rely almost exclusively upon citizen complaints for leads.

State and Federal Laws

Animal abuse is a crime in all 50 states, and almost all aspects of the problem are controlled by state law.  The only areas covered by a federal law (the Animal Welfare Act) are commercial animal breeding facilities, zoos, circuses and research labs.

Details, such as what constitutes abuse or neglect and how the laws are actually enforced, vary from state to state.  In some states, various types of illegal situations (i.e. dog-fighting, neglect in pet stores, abused animals in private residences) are handled by different law-enforcement agencies. 

Determining Whom to Call

Fortunately, the ASPCA provides a list of enforcement agencies in all 50 states.

Animal shelters are also excellent sources of information concerning local laws and the most effective methods of reporting animals in distress.  The ASPCA Nationwide Animal Shelter Directory is a valuable resource.

Police departments are required to assist in emergency situations (dial 911); your local police department can also advise you on how to proceed in non-emergency situations.

Your Safety and That of Others

In addition to helping animals, reporting animal cruelty can save human lives…studies have conclusively established that animal abusers are highly likely to engage in violent crimes against people.  For this reason, police officers advise those witnessing animal abuse not to take action themselves, but rather to dial “911” if an immediate response is necessary.

Further Reading

A wealth of information and links to valuable resources is available at the PetAbuse.com website.

 

 

One comment

  1. Pingback: » Neon Dyed Frogs Wildly Popular in Chinese Pet Stores Herp Nation Magazine – Reptiles Amphibians Herpetology Husbandry

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

About findiviglio

Read other posts by


avatar
Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
Scroll To Top