Animal cruelty is when someone doesn’t care for or deliberately hurts an animal. It can include anything from physical violence, to deliberate mental distress or neglect, for example not feeding or cleaning an animal. Animal cruelty also does not just apply to companion animals, but can also be present within farms, zoos and other animal industries. Please note as well that animal abuse does not always look the same from animal to animal - what may constitute abuse for one breed of dog may not necessarily be abuse for another breed of dog, and the same can be said for even different species of animals.
1.Keep a record
If you suspect that someone may be mistreating an animal, you will need to have evidence of this. For example if you think that a neighbour may be leaving their dog outside all day, even in the rain or the snow, try to keep a diary of when you see the dog outside and, if possible, for how long they are outside for. The same could be said for any farm animals you may come across that you fear are not being properly cared for, or are being neglected or abused.
2. Take photos
This links very closely to the above but if possible and it is safe to do so, try to take photos or footage of the animal or the condition they are in. For example if you see a very thin horse while walking through a field, take photos of them. If possible, try to get multiple photos from different angles, as this will help authorities with any investigation they may decide to bring. However please do not do anything illegal to obtain these photos - for example by climbing into the field where the horse is kept, or trying to get into someone else’s house or property to check on an animal and take photos. It can also help to try and get video footage of the animal as they move around, especially if you suspect they may be injured in some way.
3. Call the RSPCA
If you have concerns about an animal, you should call the RSPCA. Unfortunately, they may not be able to immediately assist due to the RSPCA being incredibly overwhelmed at the moment with cases, but they can put you in contact with local rescue centres who may be able to help, or they may be able to pass your concerns on to your local police department if they feel the situation is serious enough.
4. Call the police
If you fear that an animal is in immediate danger, call the police as soon as possible. For example, if you can see an animal that has clearly been abandoned in a garden or on the side of the road, or you actually witness someone kicking or beating an animal. We would however strongly advise against getting directly involved in any situation, as you yourself may get severely injured in the process.
5. Email Advocates for Animals
You may also wish to reach out to us. We are a small firm, which does need to charge for its services, but should we be able to take on your case and you instruct us we can advise you as to the next steps that you can take and/or the steps we can assist you with to further help the animal in question.
This post is not legal advice and should not be relied on as such. If you require legal advice on animal protection laws please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.