Understanding Your Rights

Examples Of Uncommon Forms Of Animal Cruelty

People tend to assume that the only people who abuse animals are those who kick stray dogs or leave their pets chained for hours without food or water. Unfortunately, there are far more subtle ways in which you can abuse or be cruel to animals. Here are three such examples:


Keeping animals is good, but only if you don't start hoarding them. Hoarding is the practice of keeping so many animals that you can't even take good care of them all. You have probably heard stories (in the news) of people keeping dozens of pets, such as cats and dogs, yet they can't take care of them all.

Such animals may not have access to clean boarding, adequate or appropriate food or even good health care. Believe it or not, the fact that you are "doing the best that you can" will not prevent the authorities from charging you with animal cruelty.

Cosmetic Alterations

You are free to curl your hair, clip your nails or even alter your ears, but please keep your pets out of it. Some people think certain pets, such as dogs and rabbits, are better looking after undergoing cosmetic alterations. Whether that is true or not, the authorities may not treat you kindly if your "improvements" make the animal suffer. For example, cropping a dog's ears in a bid to increase his or her attractiveness causes him or her pain.

Therefore, it's always advisable to confirm whether what you want to do is legal or not before giving your animal a treatment that the authorities may term criminal. In many cases, there are exceptions that can help you achieve the same result without breaking the law. For example, cropping a pet's ears may be legal (in some jurisdictions) if it is advised by and performed by a trained veterinarian.


Slaughtering animals for food is legal, even though all forms of slaughter practices present some degree of pain to the animals. This is why there are regulations on how to slaughter animals so that they feel the least amount of pain and cruelty possible. One of the aims of the regulations is to make the animals lose their consciousness as soon as possible. Therefore, even if you slaughter an animal for food, you can still be accused of animal cruelty if you don't do it in the correct manner.

If you have been accused of animal abuse, treat it as seriously as you would treat a case of human abuse. The authorities treat animal abuse and cruelty seriously because it is a precursor to other violent crimes. Your charges may even be cross-reported with other government agencies. Therefore, hire a good lawyer, such as Sam Douglas Young Attorney at Law, right from the start to handle your defense.