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What to Do if You See a Dog Being Abused

dog on a chainThere is an ugly side to pet ownership, and unfortunately that side often goes public with tales of abuse so heinous and sickening, you can’t help but wonder how on earth these people were able to get pets to begin with.

Take Lacey, a 6-year-old mixed breed terrier, who was struck in the face with a golf club and her eyes doused in bleach. Instead of taking this poor creature to the vet, the owner, Robert Gonzales, chose to tie her up outside where she stayed for four days before getting help.

And who could forget Michael Vick? He killed innocent dogs for money and sport.

So what do you do when you see a dog, or any animal for that fact, being abused? One of the most important things you can do is to document as much of the abuse as you can. Use these guidelines from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA):

  • Use your cell phone to take pictures or to record a video of the abuse.
  • Take note of where you were and the time it occurred.
  • If there are other witnesses, talk to them and get their side of the story and contact information.
  • Call the police or local humane authorities. Animal abuse is a crime and it should be reported. You can report anonymously if you feel uncomfortable or fear retribution. As a witness to the crime, you will be protected.

Keep in mind that not everyone will be willing to cooperate, but you should still try to get as many details as possible. These details will help the police or humane authorities catch and prosecute the abuser.

Your state’s laws regarding animal abuse/cruelty are easy to find with a quick Google search or a phone call to your local humane society. Currently 41 states and the District of Columbia have felony provisions for animal cruelty.

It’s scary to call the police on someone, but a dog literally has no one to call if it is being abused.

Lastly, don’t forget to follow up. You may feel like you’ve done everything you can and now it’s out of your hands, but it could mean the difference between saving one dog or 10.

PHOTO: Tony Alter

Sonya Simpkins

Sonya Simpkins is a contributing writer for i Love Dogs, Inc. In her spare time, she loves to take her dogs for long hikes and treks to the beach, out to eat and on long road trips across the county. She then turns those adventures into useful advice for other dog parents who also love to take their dogs with them wherever they go.

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January 12, 2011 By : Category : DOGS 411 Lifestyle Tags:
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3 Comments Print

The Dog Park   


"So what do you do when you see a dog, or any animal for that fact, being abused?"

I confront the abuser head on, and the perp had better stop is he/she value his/her well being. Now, if we're talking about having wind of a dog fighting operation, then the obvious thing to do is to contact the authorities.


I apologize, I meant this post for the article I was reading before this one, about the poor pup who was found so badly injured that it was at first thought she had been hit by a car when actually she was tortured. She had been re-homed at least twice by Craig's list and as a result shine felt rehoming ads should be banned from Craig's list.


I think what happened to this poor pup is unspeakably disturbing and I know people are inclined to want to take alet's right away, myself included. But, honestly, let's think about the consequences thathenuld happen if Craig's list was not an option to those needing to re-home a pet. First, I think it is important to note that most people who choose Craig's list to re-home do so because they fear that giving the pet up to a shelter is a certain death sentence, especially for pit bulls. Even with out Craig's list there will still be flyers put up on bulletin boards, ads in newspaper classified and other equally risky ways to advertise a pet needing a new home. I think a better solution makes it the responsibility of the person placing the pet to at the very least keep a record of who the pet is re-homed to. That way, when suffering like this happens there is a record of who was responsible. If Ms. A turns her dog over to Mr.B on June 10, 2014 age the dog is found a year later and is some how traced back to Ms. A, she can produce a record of the transaction to Mr. B, who then either has a record of turning the dog over to some one else, or has a police report saying the dog was lost or stolen, or has no explanation at all. If he has proof of transferring the dog to some one else or he has a police report starting the dog was lost or stolen, the search for the perpetrator continues. If not, then possibly Mr. B is the guilty party. He would either be guilty of negligence if he just didn't keep the records or cruelty and abuse. I think this type of record keeping requirement would save far more pets from abuse since people would then expect their name would be associated with the animal if it were ever found in a condition such as this poor pup. Obviously my idea has draw backs as well but I feel banning re-homing ads from Craig's list has the potential, at best, to have no effect on the out comes of the pets advertise there.