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Intellectual Property

 May 19, 2022

Animal Protection: How to Give Justice to Pets in Need

woman petting dog on porch

A viral video has shocked and upset pet lovers online

Recently, a hard-to-watch video has surfaced online revealing a man beating his dog in the back seat of his car outside a gas station in South Ft. Meyers, Florida. The Lee County Sherriff’s office filed a civil petition for custody of the dog shown in the video, whose name is Sheba.

Ultimately, a judge ruled the Sherriff’s Department will take temporary custody of the dog and the man will no longer have possession.

This news is a sigh of relief and a victory for many members of the community and people who have been following this story. The sheriff says he wants to make sure this dog finds a good, safe home.

What is animal cruelty?

There are many forms of animal cruelty and being physically violent to an animal is an example. According to the Humane Society, most examples of animal cruelty show up in the form of neglect. Let’s break down ways to define cruelty and what to do if you witness it.

1. Hoarding

All too often, hoarders own pets that suffer the consequences of a dirty, neglected environment. The inattention to pets in this kind of atmosphere can impose severe cases of malnourishment and disease. Contact your local animal control agency immediately if you find out about hoarding.

2. Lack of care

Lack of veterinary care can be evident in pets with untreated wounds, scabs or hair loss, and look emaciated. If possible, the Humane Society recommends alerting the owner of the pet’s condition and immediately reporting local authorities of neglect.

3. Physical abuse

Physical violence, such as the behavior that led to the man in the video’s arrest, should be recorded (if possible) and reported immediately. Remember that if you intervene in the situation, avoid becoming physically involved. While you may have good intentions, remember your actions could hinder the investigation process.

4. Inadequate shelter

Temperatures can be deadly to your pets, especially in the extreme heat or cold. If you witness an animal being left outside in extreme temperatures, document the situation with your phone, and report it immediately.

5. Chained up animals

Dogs chained up to a tree or fence for extended periods are exposed to extreme outdoor weather and can suffer tremendously from social isolation and exposure to predators. If you witness a chained dog, it’s best to call your authorities and animal control immediately.

6. Abandonment

All too often, people decide to move homes and simply leave their pets behind to fend for themselves. Or the resident passes away and their pets’ care is overlooked. If former neighbors move suddenly, especially if you start hearing barking dogs or meowing cats inside their home, report it immediately.

7. Pets left in a car

Even if temperatures outside are cool, leaving pets in a car can quickly turn deadly. If you don’t see the owner around immediately, don’t be scared to call authorities. Time is critical in this situation.

8. Organized cruelty

Organized cruelty such as dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states. Additionally, it’s linked to other criminal activities such as human violence, gambling and drugs. If you have heard about or witnessed this activity, immediately call your local authorities.

What are the legal consequences of animal cruelty?

All 50 states have laws prohibiting animal cruelty, and all of them contain felony terms.

If someone has been cruel to an animal, authorities have the right to take their animal away and forbid them from being able to own another animal. In this case, the man shown beating his dog in the video is prohibited by the court to own animals in the future.

What to do if you witness animal abuse or neglect

It’s important to remember that animals rely on people to protect them and keep them safe. If you witness one of these forms of animal abuse, or even if you have a funny feeling about a situation that you may have seen or heard about, it’s best to act immediately.

Call your local authorities and animal control centers to report this behavior. If you witness an event or suspicious situation, try your best to record it in photos and videos with your phone.

Talk to your provider lawyer to learn more

Abuse of any kind should never be tolerated. Laws on animal cruelty can differ from state to state, but all states have laws prohibiting animal abuse and neglect. Talk to your provider lawyer to learn more about your local laws and what to do if you suspect animal cruelty.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. (“PPLSI”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to PPLSI members through membership-based participation. Neither PPLSI nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation, or advice. The information available in this blog is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. The blog post is not a substitute for competent legal counsel from a licensed professional lawyer in the state or province where your legal issues exist, and the reader is strongly encouraged to seek legal counsel for your specific legal matter. Information contained in the blog may be provided by authors who could be third-party paid contributor. All information by authors are accepted in good faith, however, PPLSI makes no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of such information.

 

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