Animal cruelty is when someone hurts an animal or does not care for an animal responsibly, like not giving a dog or cat food and water. It is against the law to be cruel to or harm animals, even your own pets. It’s also called animal abuse, or neglect.
Animal cruelty is a serious problem. If you see an animal being hurt, remember that you can help speak up for that animal. Depending on the situation, there are different ways you can help but keep these three rules in mind:
PAWS has no legal authority to catch people abusing animals, but your local animal control officers do. Here is a list of animal control phone numbers in Western Washington. You can also find the phone numbers for animal control near the front of your phone book, or call your local police or sheriff department.
Sometimes it is simply that people do not understand that what they are doing to an animal is causing the animal pain. Other times, people who have been abused themselves will be cruel to animals because they think that is the only way to treat others.
The worst cruelty situations are when people hurt animals knowing that it hurts the animal, and they do it to cause the animal pain. It is hard to say why someone would do this, but often they see the animals as objects instead of creatures with feelings.
People who abuse animals are more likely to hurt other people. This is why it’s so important to report animal abuse. Not only will you help the animal, but you will help your community be a safer place for everyone.