What is Animal Cruelty?

Fortunately, if people witness or hear about animal cruelty and neglect and report it to the DSPCA or Gardai or their local SPCA action can be taken. In fact, one of the most powerful ways the public can assist DSPCA Inspectors and Gardai with their lifesaving work is to understand how to recognise animal cruelty and to report it, don’t leave it up to someone else to report it.

Read more about why Do People Abuse Animals?

Cases involving Animal Cruelty can fall into several broad categories:

General Neglect

Most reported cases of animal cruelty involve failure to provide adequate food, water, shelter or veterinary care to one or a few animals. Usually these are handled by local animal care and control or humane groups like the DSPCA in an effort to educate the offender to provide proper care. If education proves ineffective, further action may be taken.

Cat Over Population

Gross, Wilful, Cruel or Malicious Neglect

There is a distinction between simply failing to take adequate care of animals and intentionally or knowingly neglecting care of the animal. Examples of neglect are starvation, dehydration, parasite infestations, allowing a collar to grow into an animal’s skin, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and failure to seek veterinary care when an animal needs medical attention. Severe animal neglect can cause incredible pain and suffering to an animal.

Animal Abandonment

Puppy Farms

Equine Neglect & Cruelty

Intentional Abuse, Torture

Cases of intentional cruelty are the ones of greatest concern to the general public and the ones more likely to involve juvenile offenders. There is legitimate fear that the individuals involved in violent acts against animals present a danger to the public that must be addressed. Intentional animal abuse is often seen in association with other serious crimes including drug offences, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence and can be one of the most visible parts of an entire history of aggressive or antisocial behaviour. Effects of the crime on the victim may be easier to document and the intentionality of the offence is more clearly recognized than a neglect case.

Malicious Poisoning

Animal Hoarding

Animal care and control and law enforcement agencies are reporting a growing number of cases that involve large numbers of animals (often several hundred) kept under extremely poor conditions, often resulting in the death of many animals from disease and starvation. The hoarder is sometimes seen as sympathetic and caring, rather than as someone who has caused substantial suffering to a large number of animals. As with other forms of animal cruelty, humane societies are recognizing that animal hoarding is not a harmless eccentricity, but a potentially serious problem that takes a toll on animals, people and the community as a whole.

Organised Abuse—Dogfighting, Cockfighting, Badger baiting

Illegal animal fighting is a blood-sport in which animals are specifically bred and trained to fight each other within an enclosed pit or ring, for the benefit of individuals who place bets on the animal they believe will win. The fights are extremely brutal, with animals often fighting to the death.

In addition to the extremely violent nature of the animal cruelty involved, illegal animal fighting events almost always include other criminal activity, such as gambling, drugs, prostitution and illegal firearms. (Large amounts of money exchange hands during these gambling events, and where there is money, there are guns and other weapons present.)

These crimes continue to flourish, often in connection with other offences. The lucrative and underground nature of these offences, and the logistical problems of dealing with many defendants and many animals that may be seized as evidence, can present unique challenges to police and prosecutors. Fighting or baiting an animal is illegal in Ireland.

For more information please click here – Illegal Animal Fighting

Animal Cruelty on the Internet

The Internet is one of our most powerful tools in combating animal cruelty, educating the public and exchanging ideas with other animal advocates. Unfortunately, the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet also makes it very easy for criminals and those that find humour in animal cruelty to spread their message.

Some of this information courtesy www.Pet-Abuse.com & Randall Lockwood, Ph.D. Senior Vice President/Anticruelty Initiatives and Training ASPCA

*Reference: Kellert, S.R. and A.R. Felthous. 1985. Childhood cruelty to animals among criminals and non-criminals. Human Relations 38:1113-29.