You might be saving an animal’s life but also a person’s life if you take some safe action after observing animal cruelty. The Animal Legal Defense Fund reports that “a 2017 study showed that 89% of women who had companion animals during an abusive relationship reported that their animals were threatened, harmed, or killed by their abusive partner”.

According to PETA, “witnessing cruelty to animals is an upsetting experience, but knowing how to handle the situation properly can save a life and prevent the abuser from harming other victims. Here are several things to do recommended by PETA if you see someone abuse an animal:

  1. Remain calm and get veterinary care.
  2. Speak up, because if you don’t, who will?
  3. Know the law.
  4. Document the crime with photos or video. 
  5. File a first information report (FIR) with the police immediately. Report the crime to the police.
  6. Contact animal-protection groups.PETA’s helpful links to online directories.
  7. Be persistent.
  8. Thank the people who helped”.

Signs of animal abuse / cruelty

How do you know if an animal is being abused? Here are some physical and environmental signs of cruelty described by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals:

Physical signs of cruelty

  • Tight collar that has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet's neck
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites
  • Patches of bumpy, scaly skin rashes
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal
  • Visible signs of confusion or extreme drowsiness

Environmental signs of cruelty

  • Pets are tied up alone outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary
  • Pets are kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter
  • Pets are kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them
  • Animals are housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements

Where to report animal abuse / cruelty

If you have any questions about an animal being abused, call your local Veterinarian to assist you? Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.