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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Jacob Reichardt
February 7, 2020 2:06 pm

if anyone could send me more facts about animal abuse, it would be great (i have a research project)

January 21, 2020 11:14 am

Humans ARE animals as well as pets. Imagine doing that same thing you do to your pet, to the person you love the most.

January 23, 2020 10:32 am
Reply to  AnimalLover

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
January 9, 2020 11:13 pm

It pains me to know what some people do to animals.

December 11, 2019 9:19 am

i hope dogs dont need to get hurt they should have a good life like people do that all i want for them

Ayshna Kumar
March 3, 2020 11:35 pm
Reply to  makayla

What about other animals like the ones in zoo’s or circuses. Not just dogs are the ones being abused there are many other kinds of species in the world that also need help.

Leland Trujillo
December 6, 2019 12:26 pm

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.

November 29, 2019 3:34 pm


December 19, 2019 3:17 pm
Reply to  Lia

abuse is basically the same thing as animal abuse just on human beings

November 21, 2019 1:37 pm

Animal abuse- i den like it

November 19, 2019 5:00 pm

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
November 18, 2019 2:32 pm

i think animals should have justice there living things just like us the deserve good lives

November 7, 2019 7:16 pm


November 29, 2019 3:35 pm
Reply to  Kittycat


January 23, 2020 3:44 pm
Reply to  Lia

yes i agree

October 30, 2019 10:44 am

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!??????

March 3, 2020 11:38 pm
Reply to  oLA

The article says that people who abuse their animals see them as throw away things rather than
another living animal that gives them love and affection.

alexis young
October 16, 2019 10:42 am

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
October 26, 2019 5:04 pm
Reply to  alexis young

I totally agree

big boi
November 21, 2019 1:34 pm
Reply to  Faridy Oropeza


August 14, 2019 10:04 am

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.

March 3, 2020 11:40 pm
Reply to  M R

Violence is never the answer but you are right to be angry on what the man was feeding his cat.

November 10, 2019 11:43 pm
Reply to  M R

Yes he definitely will!

Faridy Oropeza
October 26, 2019 5:06 pm
Reply to  M R

It makes me angry just to read this ….omg!! I would surely send police .

alexis young
October 16, 2019 10:43 am
Reply to  M R

true fact right there

July 3, 2019 5:49 am

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
June 1, 2019 10:33 pm

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

January 21, 2020 11:21 am

good luck!!!

June 16, 2019 7:58 am

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

Kimberly Alt
June 3, 2019 9:01 am

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.

May 28, 2019 2:17 pm

never call PETA

March 4, 2020 3:11 pm
Reply to  zoey

I couldn’t agree more.

December 19, 2019 3:20 pm
Reply to  zoey

You’re right

March 21, 2019 1:27 pm

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!

April 1, 2019 9:57 pm
Reply to  Rosemarie

i do to

May 1, 2019 11:33 am
Reply to  reese.wasden

they did nothing wrong

March 20, 2019 11:32 am

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.

March 7, 2019 12:15 pm

this is sad i will try to help alot

March 13, 2019 10:42 pm
Reply to  sheldon

Every person counts good job

February 14, 2019 11:08 am

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..


Austin bender
March 15, 2019 9:15 am
Reply to  Crystal

The guy should have been charged with animal abuse.

Mental man
May 15, 2019 3:56 pm
Reply to  Austin bender

I egree

February 28, 2019 10:36 am
Reply to  Crystal

I agree with you. NO MORE ANIMAL ABUSE!

April 1, 2019 9:58 pm
Reply to  Ciara

I agree

February 22, 2019 4:56 pm
Reply to  Crystal

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.

February 12, 2019 1:23 pm

Thousand animal are dea but I will donate 50 dollars to dogs and cats every month

February 6, 2019 2:17 pm

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.

January 31, 2019 3:10 pm

i hate animal abuse. its sad.

January 31, 2019 10:56 am


January 21, 2020 11:21 am
Reply to  EEVEECHU


February 25, 2019 10:48 am
Reply to  EEVEECHU

I agree with u 100%

January 30, 2019 6:45 pm

i hate animal abuse

January 31, 2019 10:58 am
Reply to  mouse

I agree