How to Tell if an Animal is Abused

How many times have you walked past that one house to see the old dog chained up to the dirt on the ground with no food or water bowl? How many times have you experienced a dog backing away from you and whincing when you bend over to pet him? As hard as it is to see these things, especially if it’s in a friend’s pet, they are typical signs of abuse and neglect. And there are thousands of cats and dogs suffering from it every day across the country.

The ASPCA recently put an article in their newsletter about spotting abuse in a pet, and how you can tell, and more importantly, what to do about it. I’d like to re-post that here for folks to read and really pay attention to.


April kicks off Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month—but you can’t fight cruelty if you don’t know what it looks like. Recognizing signs of abuse is simple, right? Not quite, say ASPCA experts. Many people interpret an animal’s aggression, fear or timidity as a surefire clue that the animal has suffered cruelty—but looking solely at a pet’s behavior doesn’t tell the whole story.

“It’s almost impossible to make conclusions based on a pet’s behavior alone,” says the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center’s Kristen Collins, CPDT. “The best way to tell whether a pet is being or has been abused is to observe his body and the surrounding environment.”
ASPCA Special Agent Kristi Adams agrees. “The clues I look for when investigating a scene,” says Adams, “are whether the animal is being provided with adequate food, water and shelter, and whether he or she appears injured or sick.”
Check out our complete list of telltale signs that an animal needs help.
Here’s a sneak peek at some physical and environmental signs of animal abuse:
– Collar so tight that it’s 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
– Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible beneath the skin
– 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 in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them

– Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally
– Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat
– 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 possibly with too many other animals
If you suspect an animal is being abused, don’t keep it to yourself—report it to your local authorities. “Reporting suspected animal cruelty ensures that animals in jeopardy receive prompt and often lifesaving care,” says ASPCA Supervisory Special Investigator Annemarie Lucas. “By making a complaint to the police or humane society in your area—which you can do anonymously—you help ensure that animals in need are rescued and that perpetrators of animal cruelty are brought to justice.”
Please read our Reporting Cruelty FAQ for more information, and have a safe and proactive Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

16 Responses to “How to Tell if an Animal is Abused”

  1. the 4Bs says:

    thank dogness we don’t know any animals like that. the closest that we come to animal abuse is getting a bath and haircut. does that count? we have seen poodles that have matted hair and badly need haircuts, but they are happily playing at the dog park and we think their owners are just lazy (or poor). we’re glad that our mom doesn’t see any animal abuse in person because she would do something about it – like steal the animal or abuse the human or both. then she would be in jail.


  2. The OP Pack says:

    Great thoughts to file, but thankfully we don’t have any animals around us that are treated badly. Thanks for sharing.

    Woos, the OP Pack

  3. AnimalLuvr says:

    This is good info to have, i always wondered who to call becasue unfortuntely i do see animal;s being mistreated. thanks for this info a lot.

  4. B&E says:

    This is good info to have, thanks.

  5. Khyra says:

    Tank woo!

    I showed Mom – and gave her a 100+!


  6. Fui and Suey says:

    This is such important information, and everyone should read it. Thankyou for helping to get more people to see it. Mum just can’t fathom people who can allow this sort of thing to happen.

  7. Paco & Milo says:

    Dear friends….thanks for sharing with us these important info…..
    everyone should read it!!!!
    we can’t understand that there are people who abused of animals…they aren’t good people….and made us are ashamed to be humans!!
    we must work so that these things don’t happened nevermore!!!!

  8. […] Read More Share and Enjoy: […]

  9. Mackenzie says:

    Is it animal abuse is somone has threatened and said numerouse times that thwy will torture, kill and cause pain to a animal?

  10. Hello, You write some nice blogs, I enjoy nearly all of your articles or blog posts. I always check back here often to see if you have modified. Carry on blogging! Have you actually contemplated blogging for money? you can find a site that pays you to publish articles, you’d probably be good at it.

  11. BusterSavr says:

    I saw this dog that was outside this old crappy house, he could run free but he was srsly afraid of people he didnt bark at me and my friend out of agression it was out of fear, there were 3 cats there too that i saw. I was gone for like a month and a half on vacation and when I came back the dog and one of the cats were gone, the other two cats just run free outside. I wish I would’ve said something before, but I never thought about it till now…….

  12. Animal says:

    There is this dog I always see, where his ribs are totally visable. His dog house is a box, litterally. And if there is owners in that house they let that dog sit out there in tyhe snow. And his hip is ALL jacked up!

    • JB says:

      You know “Animal,” it’s frustrating that you make claims like this with a fake name and fake email. This is a serious issue. IF you want to f**k around with animal abuse and neglect, we (as readers and damn good hackers) suggest you find a different blog to do it on.
      We have alerted the Administrator that you are scheming. People like you don’t go to Heaven, btw.
      J and B

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