Animal cruelty is undoubtedly one of the worst forms of violence, and witnessing it first-hand can be a scary and confusing experience. While you may be unsure of how to respond if you suspect or witness cruelty towards an animal, failure to act only results in the continuation of the abuse. If you suspect animal cruelty, here are the first steps you should take. 

What Is Animal Cruelty?

Animal cruelty is most commonly recorded in the form of neglect, with outright violence occurring less frequently. It’s sometimes difficult to tell whether or not you’ve seen animal cruelty; the examples below may help you categorize any potential cruelty you do notice. Hoarding, lack of housing or health care, confinement and desertion, as well as other forms of mistreatment, are all examples of neglect.

Know The Signs 

Even if you don’t witness the abuse directly, that doesn’t mean there aren’t signs that demonstrate something going on behind closed doors. Both appearance and behavior can shed light on an animal that is being mistreated. 

A few signs of abuse include: 

  • Flinching
  • Tucked Tail
  • Limping Or Unexplained Pain
  • Excessive Submission
  • Excessive Aggression
  • Avoiding Physical Contact 
  • Changes In Appearance
  • Looking Sick Or Undernourished
  • Wounds And Injuries 
  • Keep in mind that these signs don’t necessarily mean an animal is being abused. The animal could be ill and the owner may be doing all they can to aid recovery.

Report The Abuse To Correct Authority 

In Alberta, there are only three organizations that conduct neglect and abuse investigations as per the Animal Protection Act.

Make Notes Of What You See 

Make a thorough record of the case, including dates, times, detailed details, and, if possible, cell phone footage and images (without putting yourself at risk). All of this information can aid competent agencies in their investigation of the suspected maltreatment.

Be Persistent 

Countless animals have been rescued from abusers thanks to perseverance. If law enforcement officers are unable to satisfy your concerns, you can go straight to their managers. Appeals to local government officials, such as the mayor, prosecutor, city council members, or local commissioners may be necessary.

Final Thoughts

Abuse and neglect that go unreported can result in terrible consequences. Even though the process can be scary and confusing, with the proper help and right direction, you can navigate the process in a much simpler way and potentially save an animal that is not properly being cared for. 


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