Animal Cruelty Facts: Laws, Stats And How To Report A Concern

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Animal Cruelty LawsWhen people think about animal cruelty, their minds usually start with an image of a dog chained up outside in the cold without any food, or some dog fighting ring where pit bulls are raised to attack one another viciously. However, there are millions of animals being abused by people who don’t intend to do the wrong thing. Animal cruelty includes but is not limited to abuse, neglect, animal testing, misinformation and sheer ignorance.

There is a lot of good being done to stop animal cruelty, but there are also those who are willing to turn a blind eye to animal testing when it comes to their cosmetics or look the other way when they see animal abuse. Learn more animal cruelty facts so you are empowered to fight for change.

Animal Abuse Statistics

The question that usually comes up is, Why do humans abuse animals?

The sad truth of the matter is that there is no targeted reason people do what they do. Instead of treating animals like they are living creatures with emotions and feelings, some people view them like throw-away “things” that are put here for their pleasure. Animal abuse is not isolated to any specific gender, race, or demographic.

  • 5% of animal abuse cases involve dogs.
  • Many states do not consider livestock in their cruelty laws.
  • Federal cruelty laws are limited when it comes to animals. Instead, most cases are handled on a state by state basis.

Animal Testing Statistics

Animal testing is another area that people are quick to dismiss. We see makeup companies conduct testing on animals, and we think they are putting lipstick on monkeys – how much harm does that cause, right? The truth is, animal testing is a much more cruel and inhumane practice that kills or seriously injures many types of species. Animal testing results in helpless creatures being burned, crippled, poisoned or even sometimes killed.

  • There is no truth to the idea that the U.S. Government requires cosmetic testing on animals.
  • It’s not just rats used in product testing. Rabbits, mice, birds, amphibians, as well as dogs and cats, can all be test subjects.
  • 66,000 dogs and 21,000 cats are subjected to testing every year.
  • It’s not just makeup. Testing includes subjecting animals to pharmaceutical drugs, carcinogens and even killing pregnant animals and conducting tests on fetuses.

Animal Rights Facts

Animal rights vary from state to state, but they all reflect similar principles. Animal rights extend beyond dogs and cats and include animals such as livestock and some wild creatures. It’s always touchy when it comes to animals raised as a food source or hunting versus animal rights, but there is a clear set of rules that protects animals’ rights both at home and in the wild.

  • Hunting is legal in all 50 states, but some rules and regulations prohibit over-hunting and the preservation of native species.
  • The Animal Welfare Act was signed into U.S. law in 1966. It regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, and transportation.

What Animal Cruelty Laws Are There?

Like animal rights laws, cruelty laws vary depending on what state you’re in. According to the American Humane Society, “Anti-cruelty laws exist in all U.S. states and territories to prohibit unnecessary killing, mutilating, torturing, beating, neglecting and abandoning animals, or depriving them of proper food, water or shelter.”

  • In October 2019, the House unanimously passed the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act. This new law criminalizes acts of animal cruelty associated with interstate commerce and federal property. The Senate and President are expected to sign it into law in the coming weeks. PACT will not override local animal cruelty laws or enforcement.
  • All 50 states consider animal cruelty a felony in one form or another.
  • Laws include neglect, physical abuse and unlivable housing conditions.
  • 43 of 50 states have a zero-tolerance policy, and would convict someone on a first-time offense.

For a more detailed list of more recent state and national animal cruelty laws, visit ASPCA. And, here is a ranking of the best and worst states when it comes to animal cruelty law, as reported by The Animal Legal Defense Fund.

How to Report Animal Abuse

Animal abuse is an epidemic that is not going away without people doing the right thing and speaking up. The only way we can start to correct the problem is by deciding to take a stand and let people know that it’s not OK to mistreat or neglect animals. If you suspect a neighbor is abusing their dog, start by offering to take it on walks or to the park. This way, you can subtly communicate that the owner is doing something wrong without accusing them. If they don’t take the hint, then there are other options for helping the pet out of harm’s way.

  • If an animal is in immediate danger, contact your local police department and report the situation.
  • In a dangerous situation, you can also contact PETA (757-622-7382, option 2) to report the case. There, you can discuss what information you have and help determine the best path forward.
  • If you see something, speak up! Animals need strong people to have a voice for them and to tell people the abuse needs to stop.

Watch the video below for more information about how to report the abuse of living creatures.

What are you doing to make a difference for cruelty against animals?

About The Author:

Ryan Rauch graduated from Scripps School of Journalism in 2009 and has been writing for Canine Journal since 2012. Ryan enjoys writing and researching new and evolving home security measures, and has a passion for technology.

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newest oldest most voted
Jacob Reichardt
if anyone could send me more facts about animal abuse, it would be great (i have a research project)
Humans ARE animals as well as pets. Imagine doing that same thing you do to your pet, to the person you love the most.
is it the same the other way around because you wouldn’t do what you do to your wife to your dog
Melody Marie Toornman
It pains me to know what some people do to animals.
i hope dogs dont need to get hurt they should have a good life like people do that all i want for them
Leland Trujillo
This is really sad and I hope people stop abusing animals. Abusing animals is so mean who would want to abuse a animal at all. All I know I would never abuse a animal.
abuse is basically the same thing as animal abuse just on human beings
Animal abuse- i den like it
Most people don’t think about animals being abused until someone brings it up! The sad thing is, is that even when you tell the person, they still just shrug it off. I’m 12 and in ELA. THis NEEDS to stop!
alexus milligan
i think animals should have justice there living things just like us the deserve good lives
yes i agree
Why should any animal get abused? They don’t deserve it! When you come home at the end of the day your do comesa dn sees you and they are so happy why should this amount of love and kindness get abused!??????
alexis young
the people that do this should go to prison for life because if i see someone abuse animals i will be the one ending up in prison cause i wont have it!
Faridy Oropeza
I totally agree
big boi
This Man in New Mexico is a cruel Man for feeding Meth too His Cat. Any Person do Evil things too there Pets & Animals by Hunting them. Will be killed off by God & only God himself. So you can not hide. He will find you.
alexis young
true fact right there
Faridy Oropeza
It makes me angry just to read this ….omg!! I would surely send police .
Yes he definitely will!
People who does this to animals should not be worth living. I am doing my end of year GCSE speaking and listening exam and I am doing about animals getting abused if people get animals and abuse then why did they get the animal in the first place. I think animal
should be treated like humans.
Moon Storm the wolf therian
I hate that people would do this to animals. I’m doing this presentation in school about a current issue, and I chose animal cruelty(and gray wolf protection!) and I was looking for pictures and I was audibly gasping as I looked at the images from my Google search. These animals have feelings too, they aren’t dumb, and they did nothing to deserve that kind of treatment. I am a wolf therian and when an animal(especially a dog or wolf) is hurt, I feel its pain and it makes my heart ache that people would hurt these beautiful creatures. Isn’t a dog supposed to be “man’s best friend”? I just hope that eventually people learn that animals can feel pain as much as we can.

Moon <3

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
I couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand how others can be so cruel to animals and abuse them. Good luck on your presentation.
I am also doing a discussion at school on this and i have read some disgusting and vile things that make me physically want to be sick. How can people live with themselves after doing this!!

Holly <3

good luck!!!
never call PETA
You’re right
I think this is horrible! Why would people do such a thing! In Montana where I live, I see dead cats and dogs on the road… it’s horrible. I want to help!
i do to
they did nothing wrong
I adopted an abused puppy and when we first got her she was scared of everyting, now that she has me, she is happy and playful. We did find out because she was abused she has anxiety issues so sometimes she will be shaky but I still love her. The reason I adopted her is because I know what it feels like to be abused. I was abused by my biological parents for 2 years then finally I got help and I got a great family who loves me, and that I feel safe in and thats what I wanted for my puppy I wanted her to feel safe like I did. 🙂 I do get scared easily like my puppy but at least I know i’m safe.
this is sad i will try to help alot
Every person counts good job
Its happened to me before too.
I witnessed my old next door neighbor beat his dog with a broom for digging holes in the backyard.

I called the police, because the animal didn’t deserve that. It was just a puppy at the time. (not to say that older dogs deserve abuse, because they don’ animal deserves abuse)

The cops came..I reported it, they went over to check on the was limping and whimpering and scared..they took the dog away and put it back in the pound..and left..they didn’t charge the guy..they didn’t even take his statement..Nothing happened to the guy. I was so mad.

Later I found that the same pup was put up for adoption..So..What any smart human would do. I adopted the little guy and he has become a part of my family for 5 years now. He’s a Golden mixed with husky.

My point is..


What you did for that puppy was so selfless, you saved him/her so much pain that could’ve happened if you didn’t step in and stopped it from ruining the little guy’s trust towards people, so you pretty much saved his life.
I agree with you. NO MORE ANIMAL ABUSE!
I agree
Austin bender
The guy should have been charged with animal abuse.
Mental man
I egree
Thousand animal are dea but I will donate 50 dollars to dogs and cats every month
Animal abuse is sad and i’m sad to say it happens a lot and it needs to stop people think its fine but its not the laws have to be stricter,animals are living creatures and have emotions its sad to see people tear that apart.
i hate animal abuse. its sad.
I agree with u 100%
i hate animal abuse
I agree
I despise animal abuse soooooooo much
witnessed animal cruelty before, the guy went to prison for like 5 year for what he did, and the dog didn’t survive. Scared me for life.
Its happened to me before too.

I witnessed my old next door neighbor beat his dog with a broom for digging holes in the backyard.

I called the police, because the animal didn’t deserve that. It was just a puppy at the time. (not to say that older dogs deserve abuse, because they don’ animal deserves abuse)

The cops came..I reported it, they went over to check on the was limping and whimpering and scared..they took the dog away and put it back in the pound..and left..they didn’t charge the guy..they didn’t even take his statement..Nothing happened to the guy. I was so mad.

Later I found that the same pup was put up for adoption..So..What any smart human would do. I adopted the little guy and he has become a part of my family for 5 years now. He’s a Golden mixed with husky.

My point is..


Moon Storm the wolf therian
Good on you, that pup deserves a good owner after that experience 🙂
helped with my news report.
Really good helped me with homework
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Glad it was helpful!
me too i have to do a chapter book on animal abuse and a teen activist which is Phoebe Goldstein 27 currently
Same, we are researching animal abuse and ways to stop it. It’s very helpful
I feel empty
And if you do that to animals you have no heart and don’t deserve that animal because you treat it bad think or I don’t even think you have a brain to think …. sorry I’m mad I told you I will loose my mind
I feel empty
When you treat an animal like trash ………… you know that dogs and cats and animals are like human because they live if you treat them bad your treating a human bad I’m going to loose my mind and feel empty if it keeps going on.
Wut did that even mean?
If it’s not human, what’s the point?
Sorry, that was not me who said that. I do NOT agree with that statement AT ALL.
I had a dog named Atrais who went through all of this,it was heartbreaking and I would donate something but I am not old enough, but when I do grow up I shall donate heaps.
this is really sad! When i grow up i will donate 60 dollars a month and to all the dogs,Im sorry for everyone that has abused you ;(
I agree
Charakey blackard
This is messed up. I mean why
This is just as messed up like being 2nd on Fortnite
i agree
Asia is the worst when it comes to animals.
Butt crack
What up my fellow Asian
Wait... wut
lol. not all asians eat dogs
messed up!
Im only 10 and these things people do to animals are just terrible.
Join the discussion
Join the discussion
How can hurting a animal/creature please someone?

this is for a podcast assignment.

Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Before I answer this I want to state that these are my assumptions and not how I or Canine Journal feel about animal cruelty. We do not think animal cruelty is okay in any scenario and feel that there is no reason for a person to hurt an animal at anytime.

One reason someone might hurt an animal is because it makes them feel powerful. Animals depend on us for food, shelter and affection. We are the center of our dog’s world. Our dogs are a big part of our life, but we also have other elements (friends, work, exercise, hobbies, etc.) and we do not depend on our dogs for everything. Our dogs on the other hand, wait for us to come home, wait for us to exercise them, wait for us to feed them, etc. This type of power can be abused in the wrong hands. Some people may feel belittled in other aspects of life and having control over their pet makes them feel strong and superior. However, if you ask me, abusing an animal doesn’t make you powerful, strong or superior — it makes you weak, mean and cruel.

It is horrible to see all of these sad cases. Just like the one where someone attempted to drown a dog in glue then let their kids throw it in mud for fun. Is that really fun? What if it was done to you? It hurts my feelings everyday. It makes me sick to see all of thes animals being treated like that. It’s not only dogs it’s cats, horses,etc. I’m only 13 and I want to make a difference in the world. And make it a better place. But sadly not just one person can do it so I need help.
Kimberly Alt (Admin)
Brooklyn, you CAN make a difference! The way you treat others and animals makes a difference to those individuals. Kindness can spread just as easy as a cold. I encourage you to stand up for what you believe in. You may open up someone else’s eyes to something they never took the time to understand. I am 25 and I am constantly learning this in life. I used to think 1 person couldn’t make a difference. But there are many things I’ve done in my life that I like to think have impacted this world for the better. Be the kindness and good that this world needs and you WILL make an impact! 🙂
I have a [pet dog and hate to see this happening.
i am only 13 years old and i think it really mess up what they do
It’s sad because people think it’s fun to abuse animals, I’m doing a report on Animal Abuse Andy Neglect in school and I’ve found shocking facts that are sadly true
yes i is sad
Im doing a report to and its so sad to see all of these stories.
so am i and i agree with u
I think animal cruelty should be banned or for the people that wants to treat animals like that someone should treat them the same way to see how it feels when they do it to the poor animal.
joe smith
stop the iditarod the only nonhumam that travels a thousad mile in a week is the artic tren and thats a bird !
As of 2014, all 50 states have felony laws for animal cruelty.
Yanella Sanchez
Animal Cruelty is something many people should take into consideration because animals could feel and should not be treated in such a horrible way for no reason. Animals deserve to live for as long as nature lets them live and a human should not have the right to take away their chance of living. There’s many animals that get abused in this world but nothing is even done for them. If you see an animals getting abused be the one to save the animals life, take a stand for them by either stopping the abusing or calling any local animal service and help the animals live a better life. Its time this world opens their eyes and sees that animals feel just like humans do and they deserve to live a wonderful life because they know nothing but how to survive and what they were thought by people.
Animal abuse is a bad thing. Help save any animal you can.
Addison Haas
yes animal cruelty is just absurd and it should stop i have 2 dogs and 4 cats and i rescued 2 of my cats that were abandon by there owners
that not right
i am so tired of this animal abuse shit
I have 3 cats and 1 dog , i don’t know how anybody can be so obscured to animals when animals most likely did nothing to them through out their life time. If my family memebers every hurt animals this badly for nothing i would honestly probably beat the living crap out of them. And if it was my kid i would tear my kids head off.
they are your kids dumb
if u kill you kids, you go to jail, your pet might be sent to pound where it’ll die anyway, soooooo…
i have three cats and two dogs and a fish, a turtle and every week i get bags of food for them because i could not even think about animal abuse.
animal abuse is so mess up
i have a dog and i would never do anything to harm him in any way. What people do to their animals is sick cruel and wicked
Garrett darling
I am just saying if i every see anyone try or hurt an animal i’m telling you they wont be standing anymore than 60 sec i am done with them these Animals just as imporant as our lives as ther lives
Thunder Palmer
You do realize that PETA and the ASPCA are NOT animal rights activists, right? Do NOT call them. First of all, PETA doesn’t allow the consumption of meat despite that humans are biologically omnivores. Second, the ASPCA supports animal genital mutilation, including spaying or neutering a pet without the owner’s permission, especially if the owner plans to have it bred. Animal rights INCLUDES the right to procreate, and it INCLUDES their right to live, and to not be denied their natural diet. These companies are against all.
I agree with you
Huge Fortnite gayboi
True dat its like getting 99th place in a 99 player lobby in frotnite
They obviously don’t care about animals safety or their rights. Someone needs to shut them down!!!>:(
Animal cruelty is disgusting!
you are right
baby panda
Agree 100%
Caleb Kraus
Animal cruelty is wrong because I know of reported animal abuse 2 times and I have 2 dogs and two cats who I love and never get abused or neglected.
When I was little my pitbull was abused by my dad. I told someone about it then my dad got arrested. I’m very happy I spoke up. Other people like me should speak up instead of watching a poor creature be beaten and abused. Do something about it people!