Report Abuse

Animal Cruelty

How to report it and what to look for

Observing Animal Cruelty:

Anyone able to observe animals and spot an animal in distress can be helpful in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. In Garland County, there are a limited number of sheriff deputies and animal control officers charged with enforcing animal cruelty laws. Since each are charged with enforcing these laws over a large geographic area, the time they can allocate to animal cases is sometimes limited. In addition, since there are a very large number of animals outside the city limits in remote areas, citizens who can observe and report abuse or neglect are vital to helping mistreated animals in Garland County.

Studies by the Humane Society of the United States have shown there is a direct correlation between the abuse of animals and the potential for future violence against people. You should always report children who abuse animals since intervention may save them from being more violent in the future. Abuse of animals within the home is often tied to domestic violence. Sadly, adults who abuse children or other household members will frequently hurt animals in the home as a threat or warning to the other members of the household. In addition, children who commit animal abuse may themselves be abused by an adult.

Animal Abuse Signs to Look for:

  • Animals tied up outdoors with little or no shelter.
  • Animals tied up that are unable to reach food or water.
  • A general lack of food or water.
  • Untreated skin sores or insect bites.
  • Any signs of untreated injuries.
  • Animals that appear to be too thin. (Can you see the animal’s rib cage?)
  • Too many animals in one cage or yard without adequate shelter.

If you suspect animal abuse, please call your local county Sheriff’s department if you live in the county, and your city police department if you live within city limits. If you come upon the scene of an abuse case, here’s what to do:

  • Document in detail what you observe while it’s fresh on your mind. Keep this documentation in case it is needed in a court case later.
    • Describe the animal and its condition to the best of your ability. (Size, color, weight, male/female, etc.)
    • Record the date and time of your observations.
    • Describe the animals living conditions in detail.
    • Who is present at the scene?
    • What are the names of any other witnesses?
    • What is the address of the property where the animal is seen?
    • Document in detail what you believe to be a violation of the law.
    • Document any visible signs of injury.
    • Describe the attitude of the animal — is he/she friendly, aggressive, or afraid?
  • If possible, take a picture of the animal and its immediate surroundings. A video camera is best but not necessary. A photograph will leave little to interpretation in a court case.
  • If an animal is in danger of imminent death, you can intervene to save the life of the animal. For example, if an animal is hanging by the neck from a chain and choking, you can release the animal from the chain to keep he/she from choking to death. Please be careful in these situations due to an animal’s propensity to bite when scared or in pain.

Reporting Abuse or Neglect:

Once you have documented the information, contact the local law enforcement agency to report what you have witnessed.