I know it’s a chilling subject, but animal abuse happens everywhere, everyday. It doesn’t matter how rich, poor, nice or mean people are. Animal abusers can be standing next to us in line at the grocery store. Scary thought, right? Although people who abuse animals don’t have a stamp on their forehead (dang it!) you may suspect that a friend, neighbor or even family member is abusing their animals. I have a list of actions you can take if you suspect animal cruelty.
Animal cruelty isn’t just dog abuse. It could include hoarding, neglect or abuse of ANY animal. It comes in all forms. It may also be subtle; maybe you know someone who isn’t necessarily beating their dog, but they are leaving them outside in freezing temperatures or dangerously hot weather. That is a form of abuse.
Signs of Animal Cruelty
- Sores, cuts, bruises or bleeding on the animal
- Patches of missing fur
- Thin, emaciated body
- Limping or inability to walk
- The owner is obviously beating or threatening an animal
- Animals left in parked cars during hot weather
- Animals left outside without food, water or shelter from extreme weather
Animal cruelty is a serious crime, especially in Arizona. Under AZ Law (A.R.S ~ 13-2910), cruelty to animals can take many forms, from neglecting or abandoning an animal to inflicting physical injury or failing to provide medical attention. The law covers mammals, birds, reptile or amphibians (source: Maricopa County Attorney’s Office). The crimes I just listed are FELONIES. Convicted animal abusers face the possibility of prison time.
What do I do if I witness or suspect animal cruelty?
- Firstly, immediately report it to your local police agency. Do NOT wait. An animal’s life could be at stake.
- Reach out to your local Humane Society.
- Call your county animal control.
- Check for animal rescue groups on Facebook that may have resources.
Arizona Phone Numbers to Report Animal Cruelty
Like I stated earlier, animal cruelty can take many forms. I knew someone who was leaving dogs outside during scorching Arizona summer days. We were seeing 115° temperatures and this person felt that giving the dogs shade and water was enough to protect them. I disagreed. Animals can suffer from heat stroke just as humans can. I had a very polite conversation with that person, letting them know the dangers of keeping those poor dogs outside. Well, it wasn’t an immediate change but now those dogs are living mostly inside! Sometimes all it takes is some education.
If you are in another state, you will still want to take all of the steps that I listed above if you suspect or witness animal cruelty. For more specific resources in your area, contact your local County Attorney’s office. Your local Humane Society most likely has resources available to you as well. If you suspect a dog fighting ring or puppy mill in your area, contact the police immediately. You can also get in touch with the ASPCA to help after you report it to the authorities.
A great website to find information on animal cruelty in Arizona is SafeAnimalsAZ.org.
Have a reliable animal cruelty prevention resource? Please share it in the comments!