In the United States, 47 of the states have felony animal cruelty laws that are quite effective when enacted, but sadly for the millions of precious animals abused each year, many of the cases go unreported. As a lifelong animal activist, lover and enthusiast it is extremely heartbreaking to know that these precious innocent animals are being abused and neglected on a daily basis, but educating the general public about the signs and characteristics of an abused animal can have a significant impact and bring the abusers to justice.
One of the most noticeable signs of an abused animal is whether or not she cowers away as you approach her, although not every animal that cowers has been abused, but it is fair to say cowering is one of the known behaviors of an abused animal. Another major sign of an abused animal is the overall condition of its body. For example, if she appears to be thin, emaciated, weak or has open sores with patches of fur missing, it is highly likely she is a victim of abuse.
Neglecting an animal is also a cruel form of animal abuse and in many extreme cases considered to be a felony. If you notice that an owner continuously leaves their pet tied up in the yard for long periods of time without food and water, please know that is neglect and you should report it immediately. Please note that even if there is food and water present it is still considered to be neglect if the owner is leaving the animal outside for lengthy periods of time. Another form of animal neglect is making an animal live in a small cage without ever allowing it to have daily exercise. Some examples of this include farm animals, laboratory animals, people who keep their pet birds, reptiles, rabbits, hamsters, and cats in small cages. Notoriously known, the dogs in puppy mills also spend their entire lives living crammed in tiny cages cruelly being forced to breed continuously.
There is absolutely no justification or excuse for animal abuse and if you suspect an animal is being abused please do not be afraid to report it to the local police, animal shelters, or the Humane Society of the United States. Throughout Chicago and across the country there many anonymous tip lines for reporting animal abuse in addition to the resourceful animal shelters. In most states, animal abuse and neglect is a felony so if you truly love animals, please keep your eyes and ears open to the signs of abuse and help bring the abusers to justice.