Animal Abuse In America

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I have anxiously awaited the writing of this post. Although many statistics, information, and ideas come about with this subject, I’ve postponed writing until the right words could shine through.

Chances are, the people reading this are not the ones abusing and neglecting animals. However, those reading this are still impacted by animal cruelty. The disgustingly horrific photos and videos that are seen on television, the internet, and in the news, often leave animal advocates and animal lovers disheartened. There is no harsher feeling than seeing an animal being tortured, knowing that animal abuse exists, and having no idea what to do about it or where to go.

Here are things that everyday people like you and me can do to help prevent and potentially stop animal abuse.


The legal definition of animal abuse is the crime of inflicting physical pain, suffering or death onto a tame animal, beyond necessity for normal discipline. It can include neglect that is so monstrous that the animal has suffered, died, or been put in imminent danger of death.

Animal abuse is commonly known as cruel acts and neglect. Psychological terror and torment is also a form of animal cruelty, for example: the constant creation of fear by the owner to the animal.

Physical abuse such as burning, cutting, using excessive force on an animal

Psychological torture such as routinely performing an act which knowingly creates fear for the animal with the intention of scaring the animal (for example: holding an animal out of the window of a moving vehicle.)

Neglect, such as withholding food, water, shelter, basic grooming needs, or medical care (often found in hoarding situations)

Are all forms of animal cruelty.  


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Below is a chart defining the frequency and types of REPORTED animal abuse cases in the United States in 2013.


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A quick mention on obesity in the US: A stagggering number of American pets are obese. Although this is not a direct form of abuse or neglect, obesity can and often does create many health challenges for the pet and can and often does, limit the animals life longevity, and health. Routine exercise is an essential need for many animals.


Animal abusers find all kinds of different and sick ways of harming an animal.  For whatever illogical reason, these types of people do not see anything wrong with their actions or behaviors. Common traits include:

  • May perform acts of cruelty or torture for religious, cultural, or artistic reasons.
  • Most likely have psychological/ personality/sexual disorders. Antisocial personality disorder in particular revels the highest incidents of intentional animal cruelty according to Psychology Today.
  • Likely to be impulsive, selfish, controlling, attempts to be intimidating, and shows great lack of remorse
  • May have been a victim of violence themselves or have been witness to violent/abusive acts
  • Highly likely to be domestic abusers as well. 71%- 88% of abusers were abusive towards spouse and/or children as well
  • Predominately men under 30 years old and women over 60 years old


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A woman you work with often comes to work bruised. She admits that she and her children are a victim to domestic violence by her husband. Given the woman’s testament, would you consider her dog to be safe in the household as well?


Learn the signs of animal abuse.

Notice your surroundings and environment on a daily basis. Some signs of abuse and neglect are quite evident. However be careful in drawing assumptions.

Example: “Every time I drive home from work, I notice my neighbor’s dog outside. The dog is outside from the time I drive into work and from the time I drive home.”

The owner may have brought the animal indoors between these two times, however since you are at work, you are not able to see that fact. When presenting an accusation of animal cruelty, it is imperitive that your observations/facts be concrete enough to stand up in court.

Gather evidence if possible.

Create a record or log documenting what you see on a daily basis, the animal’s location,  health condition (skinny, dirty, mange-like, etc), living conditions (no shelter, living in feces, etc) Take photos if possible. In general, it is not wise to confront the animal abuser yourself. Law enforcement personnel are trained to deal with situations such as this, because remember; animal abusers may also be violent towards human beings as well.

Don’t be afraid to speak out against the abuse

Even if it means continuous phone calls to law enforcement or someone else of authority. Even if they don’t seem to care (they could be animal abusers as well) Keep placing complaints, making phone calls, and advocating for the animal.

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If your local authorities are not being responsive, call:

PETA at 757-622-7382 or,

the Animal Humane Society at 612-772-9999 email:

Call your local animal shelter

In some U.S. states such as New York and Texas, dialing code 311 will put you in direct contact with someone who can help with animal cruelty.

If you are witnessing animal cruelty as it is happening and the animal’s life is in imminent danger, call 911.

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If you have viewed animal cruelty on the internet, click here to report it. You can also click here. You may need the direct video link when reporting or in some cases, the IP address of the website. In order to assist law enforcement, this link allows for easy look-up of the website creator’s contact information.

Be active with your local animal shelter

This seems a very after-the-fact avenue and for the most part that is true however the local animal shelter is where many neglected and abused animals end up. Many of these shelters are non-profit and depend solely on contributions made by their community to care for their animals. Help the relief effort by volunteering with your local shelter or providing donations if possible.

Encourage tougher animal cruelty laws in your local legislation

Which could mean organizing a citizens’ initiative/petition or writing your local representative and advocating for tougher animal rights laws.

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Right now in Denver, CO, efforts are being made to legally prohibit convicted animal abusers from ever owing an animal again. Similar legislation exists in California.

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Although many US states have felony laws for animal abuse, SOUTH DAKOTA is one of the US states WITHOUT felony-level animal cruelty laws.

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Educating youth on proper animal care can prevent animal abuse in the future.

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Not everyone understands that animal abuse is NOT okay. 

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The Alaskan Malamute

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The Alaskan Malamute is a working dog which had been bred to perform specific dog sledding tasks. It is hard to pinpoint exactly when the breed began. However, upon Russia’s discovery of Alaska in 1741, tales of the “Alaskan Arctic Sledge Dogs” arose.

Mushing (dog sledding) was and sometimes still is a necessary method of transportation in the arctic circle and frozen tundras of the world’s northern landscapes. Without roads, vehicles, access to gasoline, and intense ever-changing weather, sled dogs were the only opportunity for Alaskans to provide transport, gather resources (food and supplies), trade, haul heavy freight, and network with other Alaskans.

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The native Innuit, Mahlemut tribe (now Malamutes) of Alaska, were the first peoples to be seen “using dogs to haul sledges.” Their dogs were described as affectionate, beautiful, fine, powerful looking, enduring and tireless by the white people who came across them.

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The Alaskan Malamute became recognized as its own breed in 1935. Many dog sled racing records are held by Malamutes as opposed to similar breeds such as the Siberian Husky, Samoyed and Eskimo dog who would engage in racing tournaments as well.

The Malamute is typically wolfish grey with black or white, with white being seen on the underbelly, legs, feet, face and sometimes forehead. Although rare, an all white Malamute can be seen as well.

Malamutes are considerably denser than other sled dog breeds. Their coats are often heavier, and bodies are more hefty and heavier. They are deep-chested and have a smooth gait, with a large, fluffy curled tail.

Their average height is around 23- 25 inches and can weigh between 75 to 85 lbs. Malamutes typically have brown eyes and are not to be confused with their blue-eyed cousin the Husky. Their dense, heavy coats make them unsuitable for warm climates, and require a lot of up-keep since they will produce a tremendous amount of hair when shedding.

Overall, the Malamute is a highly intelligent, friendly and affectionate breed that is well-suited for colder climates. Due to their breed origin, they may require a moderate to high level of activity and exercise.

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Lassen County, CA

High Desert Wolves Rescue is a non-profit animal “sanctuary” in Northern California. However the owner of the organization was brought to trial for “puppy mill” charges earlier this year. According to, the dogs were kept in cages their entire lives and were not socialized. Furthermore, many of the dogs and puppies had parvo virus and distemper.


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Photo from High Desert Wolves Facebook page

A seemingly small breath of relief came when hearing that the dogs and pups were taken by authorities however that relief is short-lived. With the local government refusing to release the animals to any rescue groups for adoption, many of the dogs face euthanasia. has published a petition for folks to sign, which would encourage the municipality to release the dogs into the care of rescue groups and prevent euthanasia. Click here to sign the petition.

There is also a gofundme account accepting donations to help with the cost of care and transportation of the animals for rescue attempts. To donate, click here.

Please help spread the news.


Why is it Important to Spay/Neuter my pet?

Each year in the United States, 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are admitted to a shelter. Of those 6 to 8 million, approximately 4 million are euthanized simply because they were unable to find a home.

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To really see the big picture on how serious of a dilemma this is for our nation; each person would have to adopt 15 dogs and 45 cats, to ensure that every animal in America has a home. What is even more shocking, is that our world’s population in general is already significantly higher than ever before. Studies have shown that for every 20 minutes, 3,000 people are born in the United States each year and yet; the number of homeless dogs and cats still far outweigh even that! So, this is a very real issue.

I’ll give you a minute to digest that info.

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Each American = 15 dogs and 45 cats

Do you see how truly large of an issue this is? Many animal shelters, veterinarians, and animal experts try tirelessly to address it. Yet, the simplest way to help stop this growing issue, is to spay/neuter your pet.

Even as animal lovers, we would take in all 15 dogs and 45 cats, to help ensure each animal is loved and cared for. However the fact is,  that you have now put these animals in jeopardy by housing them in a hoarding situation. Although they may not face physical abuse, they certainly would face starvation, medical issues, and receive little to no attention, since it is simply unrealistic for one person to be able to care for that many animals at once.


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A Great Dane hoarder in New Hampshire. Dogs seized required up to $30,000 in medical care. Some were able to be saved and put up for adoption while others were not.

The owner of the Great Danes pictured above stood before her municipal judge in early 2018. She plead in her defense that she was only doing this to save the breed. She wanted to ensure that the majesty of the breed remain in history.


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Backyard Samoyed breeder in Iowa, Nov. 2018. All 170 dogs were seized by ASPCA

The American Kennel Club takes steps to ensure proper breeding without all of the neglect and feces. It has established guidelines for registered breeders to ensure that no inbreeding occurs, no over-breeding occurs, and that adequate care is provided to each dog involved.

So to recap: Each American = 15 dogs and 45 cats.

4 million animals are euthanized each year, regardless of their health or age, simply because they were unable to find homes.

The simplest way you can help is to spay/neuter your pet. If you want to go the extra mile, adopt from a shelter. If adopting from a shelter is not in your interest, (by the way there are purebreds in shelters, like those Great Danes and Samoyeds!) at the very least do not buy from anyone other than a registered breeder.


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The French Bulldog

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                                                                  French Bulldog                                                              Photo by Jens Mahnke on


In the 1800’s, Pugs were bred with English Bulldogs to create, what was then called a “Toy Bulldog.” However these Toy Bulldogs quickly grew out of favor and by 1860, many were exported to France, primarily by traders and skilled craftsmen (lacemakers) who were relocating to France.

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Toy Bulldog

In France, the dogs were cross-bred with various other, unidentified small breeds, and quickly became popular among women. In Paris, these new dogs were so adept at city living, and easy to care for, that their popularity grew even more so. The French Bulldog had finally left its “ratting” (hunting of small game such as rats) and became a beloved companion animal.

Their ears are a distinct feature which separates them from other bully-breeds. French Bulldogs can weigh up to 30 lbs and can live up to 12 years.

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Similar to the Great Dane, Afghan Hound, Sealyham Terrier and others; Frenchies are hard to find. So be prepared to wait on a breeders list for a while. However hard to get ahold of, once you do- a French Bulldog will prove to be a worthy guard dog, affectionate companion, well-behaved, alert and active but not overly playful. Frenchies don’t require a lot of exercise and adapt well to any living environment.

Being a brachiocephalyc breed, French Bulldogs have a hard time in the heat. This is because, even though they have short hair- their muzzles are not long enough to cool the air as it passes through the airway, as it would in longer muzzled dogs like German Sheperds or Dobermans. Therefore limiting your Frenchies exposure to heat and being aware of any signs of heat stroke when outdoors for long periods of time, are one of the responsibilities of a Frenchie owner.

At the same time, French Bulldogs are not very tolerant of cold weather either; due to their short hair and smaller stature. However there are plenty of dog shirts and jackets available to prevent your dog from getting cold.

Overall, French Bulldogs are typically fantastic with all people and other animals. Although they do have some trouble being alone due to their want to be with their people. They are not a loud breed and will not bay, howl, or bark a lot like many hounds would. So if you’re looking for a friend to spend time on the couch with or to take a quick stroll with on a nice day, this is the dog for you.

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GOOD LUCK ON YOUR PUPPY SEARCH TAMMY! May you find the perfect Frenchie for you and Nicky!