11 signs of animal cruelty and how you can help

11 signs of animal cruelty and how you can help

Animal cruelty is not only abhorrent in its own right, but it is often a gateway crime to violence against adults and children.

If you witness any act of abuse, neglect or cruelty against an animal it is your moral responsibility to report it to local law enforcement, or to whomever is responsible for cruelty investigations in your community.

In most cases you may do so anonymously if you fear reprisal. Doing nothing does nothing to help animals in need.

DO NOT ask us in the comments section what to do if you suspect cruelty or abuse. Contact your local police department and/or humane society even if you are unsure if what you observe qualifies as animal cruelty since laws vary by state and municipality. PLEASE STOP ASKING US WHAT TO DO; TAKE LEGAL ACTION!

The 11 signs of animal abuse, neglect or cruelty

11 signs of animal cruelty and how you can help
1 – Poor body condition and noticeable trauma

The animal has severe matting and a filthy coat, open sores or obvious wounds. He appears to be flea or tick infested. He is underweight with bones visible clearly. He might be limping or unable to walk at all, or have congested eyes or ears. He is in obvious physical distress and in need of veterinary care.

2 – Lack of food or water

Every time you see this animal you notice that she has no obvious sources of food and/or water. She may be aggressive due to starvation and thirst, and perhaps very lethargic.

3 – Lack of shelter

The animal is contained in an area that is largely or fully exposed to inclement weather or constant sun. In many states, if an animal dies as a result of being left alone in a hot car the owner can be charged. See the laws in your state.

4 – Lack of sanitation

Feces and/or debris cover the animal’s living area.

5 – Abandoned

The animal is left in a house, yard, or other area that appears empty or devoid of normal human activity. Reports of companion animals abandoned and left to die inside vacant buildings are alarmingly common.

It is a crime in all 50 states to abandon an animal.

11 signs of animal cruelty and how you can help

If you notice a neighbor has moved or has stopped visiting a residence where you know animal live, be extra vigilant. Some dogs bark and whine to express anxiety at being left alone. But a dog who is howling or barking for several hours is sending a signal that it is in need of immediate, life-saving care.

6 – The animal is tied or caged

She has little or no room to move, and/or is unable to stand or turn.

7 – Chains or padlocks around the animal’s neck

Be on the lookout for anything around an animal’s neck that may have become embedded and/or infected, including regular collars. A chained animal is an abused animal.

Chaining or tethering is illegal in many states.

8 – Signs of an animal being trained to or having been used to fight

This is especially common with bully breed dogs, and even roosters. You may see training implements, treadmills, spring poles, etc. More likely you will notice obvious signs of trauma, including scars, open wounds, infections, and even missing body parts, such as ears or tails.

9 – The animal’s behavior is abnormal

She may be very aggressive or severely shy, e.g., cowering, hiding, fear-biting, even with or especially with her owner.

10 – Too many animals living on one property

This can be a sign of animal hoarding, which makes the conditions no less cruel. An estimated 250,000 animals are hoarding victims each year.

11 – Overt acts of violence

An owner or any person who is being overtly violent against the animal, striking or throwing objects at him, or otherwise physically abusing him.

There is no violence against an animal that is justified. And a person who would abuse an animal in public or plain sight is likely doing far worse outside of view.

Download our flyer: 11 signs of animal cruelty and how you can help
11 signs of animal cruelty and how you can help

The worst thing you can do if you witness or suspect animal cruelty or neglect is nothing. Be that animal’s voice and get him out of his abusive situation immediately. If you have to make multiple reports, do it.

Four steps to help an animal who is a cruelty victim

Animal cruelty is illegal in every state and a felony most. If you make a report of alleged animal cruelty the responding agency is required to investigate.

If you see an animal in distress, do not assume that someone else will take care of the situation. Animals cannot speak for themselves; it is up to you to speak for them.

1 – Be prepared

Most municipalities have a local animal control department, or animal shelter or humane society that is responsible for cruelty investigations.

Do an online search to identify the agency in your area and program the number into your mobile phone. This way you are always prepared to report abuse.

2 – Speak up or call 911

If you witness overt violence against an animal or suspect it, speak up! If you do not feel safe intervening in a situation directly, call 911.

It is essential to contact law enforcement when violence is involved since it is likely part of an ongoing pattern that may include violence against people as well. If you are traveling or in a community that is not familiar to you, you can look up the local police department.

3 – Document the details

Tell the officer as many details of the situation as you can: location, date, time, description of the people and animals involved.

Video and photographic documentation, even on a mobile phone, can bolster a legal case. Provide names of others who may have witnessed the incident. Remain on the scene until authorities arrive if you can do so safely.

4 – Prepare to testify

While you may remain anonymous, the legal case will be much stronger if you are willing to identify yourself and testify to what you witnessed. A human witness is crucial for building a strong, prosecutable case.

Additional resources

DO NOT ask in the comments section what to do if you suspect cruelty or abuse. Contact your local police department and/or humane society even if you are unsure if what you observe qualifies as animal cruelty since laws vary by state and municipality.


  1. Carla Krcmarik

    My neighbor rescued a pit bull that had been hit by a car. No one claimed him, but they leave him outside and alone in the back yard. Even when it is 122 degrees outside. They only yell at the dog and they don’t clean up the feces. If they provide food and water can I turn them in for neglect? It is a pit bull, will they put the dog down because of the breed? The dog is very sweet, it just wants attention.

    • bethz

      If you even suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse, contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department, animal control or humane society. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing for an animal who may be suffering.

  2. Kassandra Herrera

    My neighbors had three dogs now two because hey have one to seaaca it was a golden retriever and now they still have the two huskies. They never ever take there dogs to walk they are dirty have knotted fur and they are so skinny Idont believe threat they give them enough food or water because I feed them sometimes but I stop because they just end up fighting the are in the backyard and I never ever see them paying any attention to the dogs. The golden retriever weight 49 pounds when it should weight 80 pounds it breaks my heart and I asked the younger kid if I could walk the dog but he just makes up exsuses I want them to have a better life .

    • bethz

      If you even suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse, contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department, animal control or humane society. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing for an animal who may be suffering.

  3. Natalie Ruth Cortez

    I see a guy at my store constantly kick, pulling, and talking meanly to his dog. But yelling at his dog! The dogs demeaner is the tail is between his legs and he looks sad and is always trying to get away from him! I cried today after I saw what he did!! He tied his dog to his backpack and left him outside! I don’t know what to do.

    • bethz

      Hi Natalie,

      If you even suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse, contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department, animal control or humane society. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing for an animal who may be suffering.

      Pets for Patriots

  4. Teri Godar

    I am not sure what to do I have called the Humane Society and I had the police department go over and check on dogs that I feel are in an abusive & very neglectful situation my neighbor is mentally ill she has been taken by the police several times to be baker acted I don’t know who else lives with her I believe it’s an older woman but she has three or four dogs, and for the last few months I have not seen those dogs outside or heard them outside I do hear them barking and at times crying in the house… I don’t know how they go the bathroom or where they go the bathroom but I know it’s not outside because they don’t come out and they’re very vocal dogs when they were outside…I called the police department yesterday as well as the Humane Society, a policeman came out to make sure that everything was OK he said he could hear them barking and they did not sound like they were in any kind of distress he said he couldn’t go into their home he just stood outside and talked to the lady… I have been extremely worried about these animals for a long time and I voiced my concern to the neighbors but they tell me that there’s nothing they can do I feel so bad and I really don’t know where to turn because the police or the Humane Society will not help me out and I have two large dogs in my fenced in backyard and I’m afraid to go over to her house because she’s mentally unbalanced and I’m afraid she might try to do something to my dogs while they’re outside like maybe throw poison or something in my backyard …I don’t know where else to turn and I’m hoping for some answers

    • bethz

      Hi Teri,

      Unfortunately there is little more that you can do besides continue to call your local humane law enforcement, which may be your police department and/or humane society. Continue to press them to visit the home; perhaps on one of their visits they might convince the woman to allow them to check on the dogs.

      Don’t give up!

      Pets for Patriots

  5. Roxanna J Powell

    So I live in a apartment complex that has known about 7 cats living in the storm drain next to my area.They have not done anything to get rid of them.There starving and dehydrated and I gave them water and food and I get a compliant,saying to leave them alone they will leave.They been out here more than eight months and are not leaving.Will this be considered any abuse from the apartments complex.

    • bethz

      Hi Roxanna,

      Failure to provide for stray/feral cats living in your building’s storm drain may seem heartless, but is unlikely animal cruelty according to the law. We suggest you contact your local humane society/animal control. Many have programs to spay/neuter and feed feral/stray cats in the community.

      Pets for Patriots

  6. LP

    Our neighbor was leaving their dog out all day and most of the night, never saw food or water out. He had no shelter, left out in inclement weather. He would try to crawl under the BBQ grill for shelter. We called the local Humane Society and they seemed more concerned about if our dogs were licensed and up to date on rabies. The Humane Society Officer that came out told my husband they do not have to have water, food, shelter outside. Now… I believe they leave him locked in a kennel in the house constantly. There’s days where we can hear him barking and crying inside the house and days go by without seeing him outside. When we do actually see him outside he seems scared to come to the fence and keeps looking back at the door. They have small children and we have seen them hit him with hands and objects and yell “bad” at him. How can we help this poor dog?

    • bethz

      Hi there,

      We urge you to continue to call the humane society and even the police department to report what you see and hear with regards to this dog. Speak to your neighbors to find out if anyone else is witness to these events and, if so, encourage them to call as well.

      If it is lawful to do so in your state, take pictures/videos of any abuse that you witness so that you can provide it to the authorities to support your claims. Please do not give up on this dog even though your first attempt to involve humane law enforcement was unsuccessful.

      Pets for Patriots

  7. LP

    Our neighbor was leaving their dog out all day and most of the night, never saw food or water out. He had no shelter, left out in inclement weather. He would try to crawl under the BBQ grill for shelter. We called the local Humane Society and they seemed more concerned about if our dogs were licensed and up to date on rabies. The Humane Society Officer that came out told my husband they do not have to have water, food, shelter outside. Now… I believe they leave him locked in a kennel in the house constantly. There’s days where we can hear him barking and crying inside the house and days go by without seeing him outside. When we do actually see him outside he seems scared to come to the fence and keeps looking back at the door. They have small children and we have seen them hit him with hands and objects and yell “bad” at him. How can we help this poor dog?

  8. Alex

    is it considered animal cruelity if the owners name their pet something inappropriate just to make jokes about it ? I know someone who’s done this and i just want to know if i should report it, thanks

    • bethz

      Hi Alex,

      We don’t imagine it would be considered animal cruelty under the law to give a pet an inappropriate name. If the behavior rises to the level of psychological or physical abuse, then it should be reported.

      Pets for Patriots

  9. Railey Ehart

    Every time I drive by this house, the dog is in the same spot at all times. I don’t see any area that has food or water and it’s fur is matted. I live more in the country so there isn’t a big humane law inforcment to call that I know of. What should I do?

    • bethz

      Ray, please call the local police department. In many communities the local PD has humane law enforcement responsibilities as well.

  10. Sebastian

    Hey yea i went to my cousin’s and found out that his front door neighboor leaves his dog in a cage that looks to be built for transporting ponies. His water has turned green and his food seems to be scraps. It way too hot to be outside with this weather. I really want to do something bout it but I dont what i can do

    • bethz

      Hi Sebastian,

      If you even suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse, contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department, animal control or humane society. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing for an animal who may be suffering.

      Pets for Patriots

  11. Seattle wa

    Start working to hold County Animal Control responsible for completely documenting conditions of animal and surroundings in EVERY CRUELTY CASE. Press enforcement with LAWS. DO NOT LET ANIMAL CONTROL EVER TELL YOU THERE IS NOTHING TO BE DONE.

  12. Chey

    Hi bethz,
    So a little background, we have three dogs. And they’re all very friendly, two girls and a boy. They’ve mated and had their puppies. Whenever someone comes by to adopt their puppies we let them know if things don’t work out in the first few months we’re happy to take the puppy back and work on finding it a new home. Someone’s brought back a dog from over a year ago, and this poor dog is terrified. I’m pretty sure he’s been beaten because there’s signs of it around his mouth. I sat with him for two hours and he let me pet him once. I’m not really sure how to approach him so he knows he’s safe. Also is there anyway to get someone involved to let them know I think he’s been abused? I know they have other dogs.

    • bethz

      Hi Chey,

      First of all, please get your dogs fixed immediately. It’s irresponsible to allow your dogs to breed when there is an epidemic of homeless pets in this country.

      As to the dog who was brought back to you, contact your local humane law enforcement with your concerns. This dog needs professional rehabilitation and, when rehomed, should be rehomed by professionals. Your local humane enforcement can determine if the home from which he was surrendered to you is a danger to the other dogs they own.

      Pets for Patriots

  13. Anne

    We visited an animal farm today and I can’t stop thinking of the conditions some of the animals lived in. I’m not sure if this is something to report or not. There were monkeys, an albino wallaby, lemurs and birds in the same building, not roaming together that I could see but it was hard to even see the animals except the poor wallaby which didn’t look healthy to me. It looked dark inside and the animals didn’t even get to see daylight. You could hear the lemurs running inside. There were lots of goats and a few other animals outside in pens where some children were feeding them. They were all fenced in. I just can’t stop thinking of that dark building. Is this considered cruelty to animals?

    • bethz

      Hi Anne,

      If you even suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse, contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department, animal control or humane society. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing for an animal who may be suffering.

      Pets for Patriots

  14. Fran

    I work at a dog daycare and occasionally the manager will come back to collect a dog to bring them to their owner. All the dogs will rush the door and some will even escape into the holding area. When this happens the manager will angrily take the dog by the neck and sometimes even throw the dog back into daycare. I don’t own a dog so I don’t know if this is a normal thing, but if I had one, I would not want anyone to handle it with such anger and force.

    • bethz

      Hi Fran,

      No, this is not normal or acceptable behavior; it’s abuse. Please contact your local humane law enforcement and/or police to investigate. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing, and if this is what the manager does in front of others one can only imagine what he might do when no one is looking.

      Pets for Patriots

  15. Katie

    I live in a super small town that doesn’t have a shelter or humane society, and there’s only one vet. Lately a dog has been coming to my house. He has a broken leg (my friend saw this same exact dog a year ago and he had a broken leg back then too), is incredibly skinny, and his hair is all matted. I’ve been feeding him and letting him stay at my house. There are numbers on his collar, but both of the phones are disconnected. I love this precious dog so much, but I’m concerned that if he’s chipped, the vet might return him to his owners who obviously don’t care for him. Plus I don’t want to get him all fixed up just for the vet to contact his owners so they can neglect him again. Is it stealing/could I be punished if I keep him and convince my vet to not check for a chip? I’m moving soon, so I’m not worried about the previous owners seeing me walking him around town.

    • bethz

      Hi Katie,

      We don’t know the laws surrounding abandonment in your state, but you must take this dog to the veterinarian immediately. It’s likely in a great deal of pain, and depending upon how its leg came to be broken may have other injuries as well.

      It’s possible that the veterinarian knows the previous owners if they ever took the dog for care. We think it unlikely that a responsible veterinarian would return a dog who is in the state of neglect you described.

      You may want to make an anonymous inquiry to your local or county police to ask about abandonment laws, and if as you have done in good faith – you tried to reach the owners and the numbers are disconnected – if they dog is considered abandoned. We aren’t attorneys and can’t provide legal advice.

      First and foremost, please get this dog medical care.

      Pets for Patriots

  16. Sharlina

    So I was walking home one day and there was a big dog in this persons front yard and he like crouched down to the bottom of the fence and stuck his head through it and he started whining. So I started to pet his nose and he was crawling a little over while still crouching down and he was shaking like he was scared and whining A LOT. Then he jumped up and put his head over the fence and I was petting him but I left because I didn’t want his owners to see me pet him cause I didn’t want to get him in trouble. I don’t know if he’s being abused but the way he was acting kind of made me a little off. And also my friend told me his owners did abuse him but I don’t know what to do. He’s really sweet and I don’t want him to get hurt.

    • bethz

      Hi Sharlina,

      If you even suspect animal cruelty, neglect or abuse, contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department, animal control or humane society. Doing nothing accomplishes nothing for an animal who may be suffering.

      Pets for Patriots

  17. Lb

    Oh my gosh… I am sickened by some of these posts!!! If there is an animal that is being abused it must be reported!!

    • bethz

      We agree. It’s disheartening that we have to reply to nearly every situation with the same advice: report!

  18. Brownskin

    My ex bf emotionally abused me for 3 years. I used to go crazy because i wasnt sure exactly what was happening. He used to purposely press my buttons when noones around then act like im crazy when i lost it. He acts so nice to me when were around people but when its just us he says little things to make me feel like im unworthy or I shouldnt be greatful for the things i have he has successfully made it look like hes a good person around others. Hes a master manipulater. The point of me saying this is because i witnessed him beat the crap out of his dog. First he was looking for a bat I saw his dad pick up one time but he couldnt find it. The dog was scared and stayed next to me on the bed. My ex came with a broom and broke it on his back then he ran under the livingroom table. The broom broke and was sharp at the end and my ex was poking him with it under the table. I kept saying stop and its like he couldnt hear me. Then i grabed him by the waist and pulled him away. He then went in the kitchen and got a bucket refilled it with Hot water and repeatedly threw it at him under the living room table. Didnt even care he was soaking the rug. After that he forced him to come out and made him go on the back porch while it was snowing in the middle of the winter. Before when they lived with his gma and also while i was staying there he was healthy and happy. Now theres noone there for them to put an act on for so hes skinnier and looks depressed and when my ex gets mad at him his whole body shakes. They only back eachothers abuse up so its getting worst. When I dont go over there for a while ill come and theres no food and his dad will tell him in front of me to go get food. Or he’llgo buy some. But he always makes sure i see or hear it. Thats how i know somethings wrong. The dog eats so fast like hes never eaten. I fed him my leftovers and a hotdog and fish b4 my ex came back and i told him you know he didnt eat to see his reaction he said so idc. I want to tell the animal people because i know they both abuse him in diffrent ways. When i told his dad he said he better not be abusing him in a nonchalant way. If his son killed him I beleive he’d help him hide him and cover it up. They stand behind eachothers wrongs but hate when someone doesnt put up with them. My ex also got abused by both parents and his dad used to beat his mom bad. I told my ex one day hes gonna snap and he said then im gonna kill him. Im gonna have to tell my dad i killed his dog. He publicly does nice things but tears me down when its just me and him. There both pros. I want to call in for the dog but they barely have company, and super nice to him when people do come. There gonna know its me. I think they will put on a good front in front of the dog police, the dog will end up staying and theyll let me have it after. My safety is on the line as well as my sanity. There going to talk about me through town and make everybody hate me. While still getting away with emotionally and physically abusing and starving the dog. They like to silently break vulnerable beings down then have fake pity build them up wait to they trust them and break them down again. It never stops. Ive gone through depression with him 3 times. He loves to manipulate my support and anyone that doesnt go along he hates them. Idk what to do. This could all blow up in my face because there real good at what they do. My ex hit me a few times in the beginning but his dad told him to stop. I beleive its only because he doesnt want him to look like he did. I think he told him not to hit the dog in front of me because ill tell. But i see the dog SHAKING now and new signs i didnt see before like if he gets mad he wont come from under the table or out his cage for ANYTHING but food. Even if my ex says it nicely he wont come out. What should I do?

    • bethz

      First, we hope that you’re getting yourself the help that you need to understand that your life has purpose and value.

      As to the dog, we urge you to contact your local police and/or humane enforcement. Ask about making an anonymous complaint and share your concerns for your safety. Unless someone speaks up for this defenseless animal – who cannot leave its situation – it will continue to be abused and possibly killed.

      Pets for Patriots

  19. Sandy Smith

    I have a neighbor who has a bloodhound/Lab mix. The pup dog always hung out in their drive way for months and was skiddisk if you spoke to it he would run home. I recently adopted a Lab mix pup and took it for a walk out to our mailbox which is about 300 feet from our home. The skidish/fearful pup Lab/Bloodhound (approximately 8 mos old) just blossomed out and ran to my pup and started playing when I was at the mailbox. They played and rolled and tumbled! It was GREAT!!!. Unfortunately, an overweight big guy came to fetch him and walked him with the dogs neck clinched in his arm grip forcing the dog to tip toe on it’s route home. I told another neighbor about this and he said he has seem the dog being jerked around by it’s collar by this same guy.. Since my kindness to the dog, he has taken up here the past 2 days and nights. My dogs are all inside every night and this poor sweet pup slept outside on my deck in the rain last night. I finally fed him. I am afraid the neighbor butth..e will show up and beat him. Pup is safe here and will be well taken care of. Even though we are neighbors, the owner has never called or looked for the pup in 2 days. Should I ask for the dog? I am afraid to call animal rescue because the dog is skidish to report neglect. I would gladly keep this huge pup.He is a totally different happy dog here. He lets people approach him here and wags his tail. Lost in the cross hairs of neighbors. BTW, we all have a few acres here, but most everyone keeps their pets from running loose. This dog was too afraid to leave home until he came over here. I know he will not leave on his own. He is looking to us for a friendly loving home and I KNOW that animals know the difference. What is a good approach to the abusive neighbor dude?

    • bethz

      Hi Sandy,

      We don’t know the laws in your state and whether you have any rights to keep this dog. Please call your local humane law enforcement to ask about the legality of keeping him, including the behaviors you have witnessed by the dog’s owner. Best of luck to you and the pup.

      Pets for Patriots

  20. Lola

    There is a dog in my neighborhood who is very friendly but is very skinny to the point where u can see his bones and i give him chicken and water but he is in a back yard and i cant do much idk if anyone lives there and idk what to do or who to call for help for this animal

    • bethz

      Hi Lola,

      As we state in our article, contact your local humane law enforcement about this dog. This may be your police department, or your local humane society if they manage cruelty investigations. Doing nothing does nothing – make the call!

      Pets for Patriots

  21. Kenzie Smeck

    I recently am watching a cat for one of my friends. The cat is only 6-7 months old. When we got the cat she hid in a corner for 12 hours so we tried to pet her and slowly ease her out into the open. The cat was severely aggressive, hissing, clawing, biting,etc. with a lot of patience and love we were finally able to pet the cat and get her to calm down. When she walks I can notice that her backbone sticks out. She has a fluffy coat, but she looks very skinny. When we fed her she ate like she hasn’t seen food in weeks. Her back paws are weak, she can’t physically jump very much at all. When she breathes it sounds like she’s weezing like there might be something wrong with her lungs. We can’t touch her back without her sounding like she’s hurt. This makes me fear that she’s been abused. When we pet her we have to be very careful because she backs away and hisses like she’s afraid we’re going to hurt her. She doesn’t like sudden movement it scares her. I’m just worried about her and I don’t want to give her back and put her back in that environment. Are these signs of animal abuse?

    • bethz

      Hi Kenzie,

      The cat’s behavior could be from abuse or from an injury or medical condition; it’s difficult to know. If possible, bring the cat to a local veterinarian for examination and share the details you have shared with us. If you’re concerned about physically picking up the cat to bring to a veterinarian’s office, see if they will do a house call under the circumstances; most do.

      Should an examination result in a determination of likely cruelty or neglect, we urge you to contact your local humane enforcement to report it. Best wishes to the kitty!

      Pets for Patriots

  22. VegaTheDancer

    My boyfriends Mother has dementia and has a 12 year old Yorkie. The Yorkie is a male named Mocha, his fur is always matted, and he smells terrible (like rotten gravy). He cries all the time, never has had his nails clipped, hardly ever bathed, never went to the vet in his life. My boyfriens mom lives out in the country and they have outdoor cats that keep dying from sicknesses, and one indoor cat, whom never been to a vet either. I’d hate to call the police for animal abuse/ neglect, but I’m concerned. My boss who studied to be a vet, said that Mocha might have issues with his anal glands and that is causing him to stink badly. Idk what to do. I don’t want my boyfriend to mad at me if I report them. Some help would be wonderful.

    • bethz

      Hi Vega,

      You may want to first broach the subject with your boyfriend, and point out the neglect and poor state of health of these animals. In doing so emphasize that this is likely due to his mother’s mental state and likely not intentional, but the end result is the same: the dogs and cats are suffering needlessly.

      Encourage him to work with his mother to surrender the animals to a local rescue or shelter, where they can receive proper care and rehoming.

      If your boyfriend is unwilling to take these steps, then we do suggest you contact local authorities. These animals need someone to advocate for their well-being.

      Pets for Patriots

  23. Brittany

    Hi I don’t know who else to ask and I found this website so I wanted to ask someone I have a dog it’s a lab or lab mixed he is a bit aggressive and for that I have him outside in a fence with a top that goes on it He has a dog house but he doesn’t get to come in bc I have small kids. I’ve had him for years and he’s never done anything to me but isn’t into kids or others. I actually thought about taking him to a shelter but they told me that they would probably have to put him down so I took him back home I thought food water and a house out of the rain was better that death but I hate I can’t go out and spend time with him take him on walks and all idk what to do am I doing the right thing I love him so much I just don’t know what to do.

    • bethz

      Hi Brittany,

      It’s unclear why you can’t interact with your dog or take him for walks, and it’s equally unclear how/when issues arose with your children if this is a dog you’ve had for some time.

      We suggest that you consult a dog trainer who can assess the dog and help you – and the dog – live harmoniously with your children. If this is not possible for some reason, you may want to see if you can privately rehome him through Get Your Pet.

      I​f that is not an option, contact various shelters and rescues to understand their surrender policies, including if they euthanize. Dogs are social animals, and leaving him outside by himself all the time is not a quality of life for any dog.

      Wishing you and the dog our best.

      Pets for Patriots

  24. Brianna

    I live in apartment complex where they don’t allow animals but one of my neighbors has like 10 outdoor cats. They’re always everywhere and at night you can hear them constantly fighting. The lady is very rude to me. She has given me mean looks and even called me a b***. I noticed one of her cats had kittens. They look about 3 months old now and one of them has a severe eye infection. The poor kitten can hardly see. The other one isn’t so bad. They are scared and do not let me approach them but I always see them in the mornings. Can I call someone because she isn’t treating the poor kitten and she has too many

    • bethz

      Hi Brianna,

      As we state in our article on animal cruelty, please contact your local humane law enforcement if you suspect any type of animal abuse or neglect. At minimum it sounds like these cats are subject to serious neglect, but laws vary by state.

      Thank you.

      Pets for Patriots

  25. Alicia

    So my neighbors have their dog outside all day and night. Some of the nights can get pretty cold, there is water, I’m not sure about food.

    • bethz

      Hi Alicia,

      Posting on our blog does not accomplish anything. If you even suspect mistreatment of an animal contact your local humane law enforcement, which may be the police or your local humane society. Thank you.

      Pets for Patriots

  26. Sevi

    I was walking my dogs and I realized there is a big dog kept in one of the buildings basement.
    Here what I’ve seen;
    it was a basement of a building and it smelled really musty; room was old and filthy. Dog had a water and food cup. I think water cup had water in it. It was a big breed and he/she didnt seem underweight. They left the light on, I don’t know if it’s intentionally. There was tennis ball I didnt see other toys. they left the tiny window open and I felt hot air on my face and musty smell. I don’t know if it’s too hot for the dog.
    I live in a mid class safe neighbourhood, there are lot of asians, muslims and hasidic jews that doesnt seem to agree to have dogs around.
    What should I do?

    • bethz

      Hi Sevi,

      As we have said in our article, if you even suspect mistreatment of an animal call your local humane law enforcement, which may be your local police department or animal shelter.

      Pets for Patriots

  27. Tomas catts

    My neighbors have 5 dogs, 4 little ones and 1 big one. They live in a little 2 bedroom house. The dogs are allowed inside and always at night. However from nine in the morning until midnight they put them outside in a 6 ft by 6 ft pen on a concrete patio for an hour or two, let them in and an hour later put them back out. The pen area is covered with dog crap and Pee there’s never any water and the dogs bark constantly. Last summer a neighbor called about the cops about the poop and they did clean it up but immediately let it start building up again. I’ve called the police twice this year about the barking and no water but nothing’s been done. The dogs are never walked. Too me this is abuse but then again my pets are my babies. There is one doghouse but it’s too small for the bigger dog. So I guess my question is is the fact that they do take them inside every few hours negate the issue of water outside ( to me it doesn’t)

  28. Muhammad Hassan

    I live in brooklyn and a basement neighbor has left a few cats. The neighbor hasn’t been seen or heard from. Idk if the cats are fed or what. I’ve tried calling the police but they’ve been no help. What can I do?

    • bethz

      Hi Muhammad,

      We suggest that you call the landlord, who may have a family member or other secondary contact for your neighbor who can check in to see if there’s a problem.

      In addition, the ASPCA recommends people call 311 for any suspected abuse/neglect of animals. You can learn more here and contact them directly if you have additional questions about how to help:


      Thank you for caring!

      Pets for Patriots

  29. Pari

    Okay. Will they remain keep me anonymous because my parents would kill me if they found out.

    • bethz

      Hi Pari,

      Typically you can make animal cruelty complaints anonymously. It’s a shame that you can’t tell your parents; they should be proud of you for speaking up for innocents.

      Pets for Patriots

  30. Pari

    My neighbor’s cat used to always be left outside in all kinds of weather. Everytime I would go to it to say hi, it would be under the car sleeping (outside as well). I finally started bringing it over and it stays with me and my family most of the time. When we first saw her, she was really skinny and one day she was limping as well. The wound to her leg is still here, even though it’s been months since it happened. It’s clear that she has fleas and she gets very scared for small things. We now give her food, water, and some shelter. A couple of days ago, I realized that her collars were extremely tight on her, so I loosened them. it was pretty clear that the owners didn’t even loosen them, for a long time. She seemed so relieved after I did that. There was also another day when I walked outside to go see it, and the owners were there. She walked towards them, but they just looked at her a scowled and just left her outside. I don’t know if these are signs of abuse or not. The cat is safe with me, and she’s been with me for weeks now and they aren’t even looking for her. There are other cats at that same house that are left outside as well. Are these signs of abuse, or am I just over analyzing?

    • bethz

      Hi Pari,

      Every state defines abuse differently, but at minimum it sounds like severe neglect. Regardless, please contact your local humane law enforcement to report everything you have observed in full detail.

      Pets for Patriots

  31. Lita

    My neighbor is not home very much (at least not that I know of.) But he’s been yelling at them a lot lately and today he nicely called for them and when they got there he started yelling “bad!bad!” And I could hear them being hit with some thing that was not a hand. I have never owned a dog, so I do not have much proof that this is abuse or anything, but I would hope that they are okay

    • bethz

      Hi LIta,

      If you suspect abuse of any kind you must contact your local animal control, which may be either your police department or animal shelter. These animals depend upon people being their voice and taking action on their behalf.

      Please contact the authorities immediately. Posting a comment on our blog does not help anyone.

      Pets for Patriots

  32. Briley Haney

    tj brown that was very rude and frankly, unhelpful, do not be rude that was her helping!

  33. Briley Haney

    Thank you so much, I have told my teacher i’m concerend about her, so i’m grateful i have people who care! Bye!

  34. bethz

    Hi Briley,

    No worries. We hope that you shared your concerns with your parents and urged them to contact local authorities. Those dogs deserve better. Thank you for caring about them! You’re a very compassionate person.

    Pets for Patriots

  35. Briley Haney

    Thank you so much! sorry for my grammar I was in a rush!

  36. bethz

    Hi Briley,

    Cruelty laws vary by state, so while we do not know if this qualifies it at the very least is very neglectful and irresponsible. As you already know, an animal needs shelter, food and water – and love!

    Please talk to your parents about what you see and ask them to contact the local humane society or animal control in your community. And thank you for caring!

    Pets for Patriots

  37. Briley Haney

    Hi, y name is Briley I live in GA and i’m in 5th grade. I see a dog tied to a playhouse whenever muy bus goes by it, and i see no source of food and water. is this cruelty?

  38. bethz

    Hi Allison,

    Laws vary by state. We urge you to contact your local humane enforcement/animal control to investigate.

    Pets for Patriots

  39. Allison

    Hi my neighbour has two dogs and their backyard is covered in dog poo. He hasn’t picked it up all winter. It is spring now and the poop is everywhere. I feel bad for these dogs that have to live in it when they’re outside. Is this animal abuse?

  40. Robert

    Hi my name is Robert and i’m 10 years old and need some information for
    somthing i’m doing at school called a how to and need some information

  41. bethz

    Hi Jaiden,

    Your brother is repeatedly beating a dog and you want to know if it’s abuse? Please, call the police immediately.

    Pets for Patriots

  42. bethz


    As we say at the top of the article, if you suspect neglect/abuse contact your local humane law enforcement – which may be your local animal shelter or police department.

    What legally qualifies as abuse/neglect varies by state.

    Pets for Patriots

  43. Jaiden Allyse

    My step brother’s dogs are only a few months old and they will sometimes go up to the neighbour’s fence and look at the other dogs, and then my step brother will literally drag them back down to my backyard and literally throw them into their cage one by one, and then he will beat one of them with a stick multiple times and slap her forcefully even more times. When she tries to run into her cage, he drags her by the foot and starts to continuously beat her again. He also yells in her face He doesn’t even bother to do anything to his other dog. He does this weekly, almost daily! I was really wanting to know if this is dog/animal abuse… it makes me sad to see him do it to her…):

  44. Taly

    My neighbor has a dog and recently moved here and since they moved here I haven’t seen them go out side to be with the dog.the dog seems normal and there is a pan randomly out side where I think they feed her out of but have not seen food there. But did see a empty bag of dog food on the ground maybe a week ago and is still there.dont see food in sight though.her nose is wet but I haven’t seen them interact with the dog.it recently rained here in California and there is no sign of a dog house and sleeps on a tiny blanket on the ground. I don’t know what to do and worried about her

  45. bethz

    Hi Ashley,

    Animal cruelty/neglect laws vary by state so we have no idea whether your neighbor’s behavior qualifies, though at minimum it’s irresponsible to leave dogs outside unattended in this manner. Please contact your local animal control/humane enforcement to report your concerns.

    Pets for Patriots

  46. Ashley

    My neighbors put up a fence a few weeks back and recently had a baby. They also have 2 pitbulls who they usually kept inside. Ever since they got the fence, they leave the 2 pits outside (only 50 degree and up, we live in Ohio). You can tell they don’t like it out there by themselves and it’s usually for about 3 hours. Today, the dogs have been outside for about 4 hours and it appears no one is home. The dogs have been crying and howling for over an hour. I can’t take my small shorkie outside when they are out there because even though we have a fence as well, my dog just wants to claw under the fence and play with the pitbulls and I’m scared they will bite my dog from under the fence. We like these neighbors but I’m worried about these pitbulls and their well being.

  47. bethz

    Hi Mary,

    First just to clarify, there is no training for an emotional support animal. An ESA is a normal pet who has been prescribed by someone’s mental health professional to alleviate the symptoms of an emotional disability.

    While it’s unclear if any of your boyfriend’s actions would be recognized in your state as animal cruelty, he is being an irresponsible guardian. Perhaps you should tell him that neutering will not only reduce the dog’s aggressive behavior, but will entirely eliminate his chance of testicular cancers – which are fairly common in un-neutered males. You can read more about that here.

    Further, yelling at a dog accomplishes nothing. It only creates stress, which itself can lead to unwanted behaviors – including more aggression.

    As for the lack of training, have you suggested signing the dog up for classes? Perhaps you can ‘gift’ him a set of classes at a local Petsmart or Petco. They’re very affordable, perhaps you can do this together.

    Let us know how it works out, and thank you for caring. Sounds like this pup needs a human in his corner!

    Pets for Patriots

  48. Mary

    My boyfriend has an emotional support dog. I moved in with him and found out that the dog isn’t potty trained (or the trauma of the move made him ‘forget’), he yells at the dog, and sometimes the dog just whines and whines for no discernible reason. He also isn’t leash trained.

    He refuses to get him neutered because of the ‘principle’ of the thing- this is mostly ignorance, I believe. He’s gotten aggressive towards pedestrians on walks lately and that makes me incredibly nervous.

    I don’t know what to do. He’s had the dog since he was just a puppy, but he wasn’t ever formally trained as an emotional support, though he has paperwork. I love my boyfriend, and I love the dog, but I didn’t sign up for coming home to a home that smells like urine.

  49. bethz

    Hi Dan,

    Never second guess suspicions about animal cruelty, abuse and neglect. That there may be illicit drug activity in the home only provides additional reasons to contact the police immediately and share with them all the evidence you have obtained through legal means.

    Thank you for being vigilant, and we hope that the authorities do a thorough investigation of the welfare of both the children and animals at this home.

    Pets for Patriots

  50. Dan

    My neighbor just got 2 Pitbulls who look to be used as guard dogs for his residential property across the street. An underlining issue is they are drug dealers who have been blatantly dealing like a drive through with 5 children present (ranging from a newborn to about 10) which has subsided after a couple months we moved in. This in itself is a problem.

    Now, the owner has 2 YOUNG Pitbull puppies who are sometimes seen together but are mostly apart. Puppy one was tied up on his front concrete steps last night from 6 pm to about 9:30 pm in 40* damp weather. It was raining all day but subsided by 5 pm to a drizzle. This morning the same puppy is left out on the stoop from when my wife notices at 7 am. I’ve documented a photo with my camera that has a time embedded in the file and will continue to do so throughout the day. On another occasion, my wife and I both witnessed the owner carrying both puppies BY THE COLLAR for about 25-30ft from the car to inside the house. I find it odd that only one puppy is left one the stoop alone, so I assume the second one is out back tied up in the same manner.
    I would outright assume this is cruelty due to the puppy is left outside alone for hours at end. We almost called the cops last night at 10 pm but we noticed the puppy was finally let back in.


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