What To Do If You
Suspect Animal Abuse or Neglect
Neglected and Mistreated Dogs
How many times has each of us witnessed an act of
cruelty to an animal and hoped the situation would get better for
the poor creature?
Hoping is not enough. If you know of an animal who
is being abused or neglected, it is up to you to take action. The
animal has no voice of its own and if you don't speak up for it,
no one will.
If you are hesitant to report the abuse or neglect
because you fear retaliation against you, your family or your own
pet by the abused or neglected animal's "guardian," you
may choose to remain anonymous in making the report. All of the
states have enacted some form of animal anti-cruelty law.
Generally, the local animal control agency is granted authority
by the local government to enforce the state law by investigating
and taking possession of animal if it is determined that the animal
is, in fact, abused, neglected or otherwise being treated inhumanely*.
In the City of Los Angeles, the Department of Animal
Services is responsible for investigating complaints about abuse
or neglect. For the telephone number of the facility in the area
in which the abuse or neglect is occurring, consult the Department's
here: L.A. Animal Services.
In unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County, the
Department of Animal Care and Control is charged with this duty
of investigating abuse or neglect reports. For the telephone number
of the facility in the area in which the abuse or neglect is occurring,
consult the DACC's website Click
here: Los Angeles County Animal Care & Control .
For abuse or neglect in other incorporated cities
within Los Angeles County, in other California counties or in other
states, consult your telephone directory for the telephone number
of the local animal control authority or contact your local Humane
Society or SPCA for guidance.
Animal abuse or neglect is a serious crime.
Numerous studies show a direct and undeniable link between abuse
of animals and violent crimes against other people. Additionally,
if the abuse is at the hands of a child, it may signal that the
child is being abused at the hands of an adult. The
officers who investigate these matters are trained to look for signs
of child abuse when investigating these matters.
Remember, these animals have no voice. They are dependent
on you. You are their only hope. If you don't speak up by reporting
animal abuse or neglect, no one will.
Dog fighting is a serious crime. It is often linked to even
more serious crimes that are also being committed by the individuals
involved and in recent years even the FBI has become involved in
dog fighting cases in which dogs have been taken across state lines
In California, dog fighting if a felony offense, as
are training a dog to fight and hosting a dog fight on your property.
The crime is so severe that even attending a dog fight is against
Boxers generally are not used in the fighting
ring, but are likely victims in training fighting dogs and are used
for "bait" in the training process. The boxer is a victim
of the dog fighter, but so is the fighting dog. It is trained
for viciousness by its owner and is a victim
just as much as the dog used in its training. No matter how good
a fighter the dog becomes, it eventually loses. Often, a dog severely
injured in a fight is dumped in a park or other public place and
left to die.
Entire breeds of dogs have been deemed "vicious"
because of the acts of the unscrupulous dog fighter. No dog wins
in a dog fight. The dogs are the ultimate losers and the only winners
are the people who fight dogs who profit at the expense of the animals.
If you know of or suspect a dog is being trained to
fight, is being used in dog fights or that a dog fight is taking
place, please contact your local animal control administrator as
well as your local law enforcement office.
Remember, these animals have no voice. They are
dependent on you. You are their only hope. If you don't speak up
by reporting animal abuse or neglect, no one will.
*California's anti-cruelty laws are set forth in section
597 of the California Penal Code. If the investigating animal control
officer determines that abuse or neglect exist, the law provides
that the animal will be held by the animal control authority until
the guardian is brought to trial. If the court determines that there
was abuse or neglect in violation of the law, the guardian may be
fined and, if severe abuse or neglect is found, the guardian may
be imprisoned. The court may also order that the guardian forfeits
"ownership" of the animal, in which case the animal will
be made available for adoption by the animal control authority,
assuming the animal is not infirm, deemed vicious or otherwise determined
to be unsuitable for adoption.