Fight Cruelty

Top 10 Ways to Prevent Animal Cruelty

Brown and white cat

As an ASPCA supporter you are probably familiar with our dedicated Agents and the work they do to save the lives of animals across the country. But did you know that you, too, can help crack down on animal cruelty in your community? Read on for simple actions you can take to make the world a safer place for animals.

Here are some other signs and symptoms that we see in many of the cases we investigate:

  • Tick or flea infestations. Such a condition, if left untreated by a veterinarian, can lead to an animal's death.
  • Wounds on the body.
  • Patches of missing hair.
  • Extremely thin, starving animals.
  • Limping.
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.
  • Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard.
  • Dogs who have been hit by cars-or are showing any of the signs listed above-and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
  • Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
  • Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.
  1. Know who to call to report animal cruelty. Every state and every town are different. In some areas, you may have to rely on the police department to investigate animal cruelty; in others, you may have to contact local animal control or another municipal agency. If you aren't sure where to report cruelty, please visit our Report Animal Cruelty section.
     
  2. Get to know and look out for the animals in your neighborhood. By being aware, you're more likely to notice, for example, that the dog next door who was once hefty has lost weight rapidly—a possible indicator of abuse.
     
  3. Make the call. Without phone calls from concerned citizens who report cruelty in their neighborhoods, we wouldn't know about most instances of animal abuse. It all comes from the public, it all starts with YOU—that's why it's so important to keep your eyes and ears open.
     
  4. Provide as much as information as possible when reporting animal cruelty. The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting an investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.
     
  5. Contact your local law enforcement department and let them know that investigating animal cruelty should be a priority. Animal cruelty is a CRIME—and the police MUST investigate these crimes.
     
  6. Fight for the passage of strong anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. With stronger laws come tougher penalties. As an ASPCA Advocacy Brigade member, you'll receive emails asking you to write letters encouraging your legislators to pass these laws—and you can send them directly from our website.
     
  7. Set a good example for others. If you have pets, be sure to always show them the love and good care they deserve. But it's more than just food, water, and adequate shelter. If you think your animal is sick, bring him to the veterinarian. Be responsible and have your animals spayed or neutered. And give your pets lots of hugs!
     
  8. Talk to your kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect. We regularly see children in homes where animal abuse has been reported. If a parent isn't treating the family's pets right, we tell the kids that their dog or cat would really appreciate fresh water every day or some daily playtime. If the animal has been left outside without shelter, we'll say, 'You have a nice house, and if you get cold, you can put a coat on. But your dog can't do that.' Children understand that animals are living creatures who have the ability to feel pain, joy and sadness.
     
  9. Support your local shelter or animal rescue organization. It's a great way to make a difference. Some of our ASPCA volunteers foster animals who have been abused in their former homes, giving these dogs and cats the chance they deserve to have a good life. You can find a list of shelters and rescue groups in your area in our National Shelter Directory.
     
  10. Start a Neighborhood Watch Program. Get to know the animals in your neighborhood and invite your friends and neighbors to do the same. Together you can keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviors—abuse and neglect of companion animals, the mistreatment of local wildlife, dogs left in hot cars and other signs of abuse.