The Major Issue of Animal Cruelty in the United States

Walking down the street, you look into a car and see the cutest puppy. You point the dog out and tell your mom “ooh mom that is the cutest dog I’ve ever seen”, but what you didn’t know is that the owner of that puppy was committing a crime. Many people commit animal abuse crimes every day and don’t even know it. Animal cruelty is the

most common act of cruelty, and it is on the rise. The most serious case of animal cruelty is dog fighting which “became prevalent during the Civil War, which became a source of entertainment for officers and firemen” (Source 3). People get pets thinking they will be in love with that animal forever, but then four months later they are tired with the animal and don’t want to be bothered with it so they let it go into the wild, but when you get a pet they have been trained to be domesticated animals so they won’t know how to survive in the wild. Animal cruelty has been one of the most common crimes in the United States.

Animals nowadays are thought of as if they were property, they were not put here to be used as entertainment, punching bags, or clothing. A person sees the cutest puppy, fall in love with it, and want to take it home not realizing that in a couple of months that same person is going to fall out of love with this same puppy and neglect him. Many people would like for animal cruelty to no longer exist, but something they do not realize is that cruelty happens all around the world. The way many people treat animals today in unheard of, but it is the way people are taught that makes them think it is okay to treat them any kind of way. There is no simple answer to the question “what is animal cruelty?”

Most if the time cruelty is used as a catch for all offenses against animals including (source 1): Animal cruelty has been around for decades and decades. So many people try their best to stop animal cruelty, but little do most know, animal cruelty will always be around. Animal cruelty can take on many forms. Animal cruelty is separated into two groups, passive and active cruelty. Passive cruelty is when an owner neglects an animal such as not feeding or providing well enough shelter for their pet (Source 6).

Many people “abuse their animals, but don’t know they are doing anything wrong” (Source 2). This kind of animal abuse is called unintentional animal cruelty. “Keeping your dog chained up in the backyard without good enough shelter,” (Source 1) is an example of unintentional cruelty because many people do not think there is anything wrong with it. Though some may not know it, hoarding is an example of unintentional cruelty. The people in these cases want to help animals so they take in more and more animals in need, but when they fail to realize that the more animals they take in the more they are hurting the animals. Some of these people feel like they are unable to form long lasting relationships with people, so they turn to these animals and end up hurting them more than they intended.

Sometimes an owner may forget they have not fed their pet all day, and does not feed the pet until the next day. Many people make common mistakes. Another category of animal cruelty is active cruelty. Active cruelty is when a person physically abuses an animal because they think it is the right thing to do (source 6). If a person purposely does not feed their pet simply because they are being too lazy that is intentional cruelty. Intentional cruelty is No one knows exactly why people would abuse something that has done completely nothing to them, but this is just what happens.

There are many unspeakable reasons people will abuse their pets. Many people abuse their pets because they feel they have to show others if they can harm an animal then they can harm a person or a person is mad and that person takes their anger out and kicks their pet or a person thinks it will be fun to hit an animal and watch it run away frightened. People that are “money hungry” may run puppy mills, large scaled commercial dog breeding operations, that put greater priority on profits than the health and well being of the puppies (Source 3). Peer pressure is one of the things that cause animal abuse. Many people think they have to impress the next person, so they have to do something to the extreme and many innocent animals fall victim to this act.

Many people think “animals don’t have souls, so it should not matter what they do with their animal”, or “animals do not feel pain” (Source 4). There are many things that go on in one’s head and sadly killing and/or abusing defenseless animals is one of them. Many people from this group, but can’t so they turn to the animals and do whatever they want to them. People from the active cruelty group suffer from serious psychological problems that should be addressed by a psychologist (Source 2). Researchers say there is a link between animal abuse and domestic violence. If there is an abused pet then there is an abused child or spouse at the same home(Aldf). Most women that have been involved in domestic violence cases are 11 times more likely to report animal abuse. “One of the most dangerous things that can happen to a child is to kill or torture an animal and get away with it (Mead).”

Though many people do not realize it, but animal cruelty is big in the entertainment industry. This is where many of the worst cases come from. Many of the circus groups are being on watch because they do not follow the rules about their animals. Circus animals suffer because they live in a life of confinement in small spaces where they can barely move around. There has been many crack downs, but circus animals are still being abused. Because these animals are traveling from town to town and being abused the way they are, it causes a lot of stress on them. When the stress builds up it causes these animals to become very angry, so they end up rampaging through the crowds when they have had enough.

Another case of entertainment animal cruelty is Greyhound racing. Every year thousands of young greyhounds are killed because they cannot race, are injured while racing, or are no longer competitive. Those greyhounds that are able to do these things spend “long hours in cramped kennels” (Source 3). The worst case of entertainment animal cruelty is dancing bears. Bears are taken from their natural habitats and if they’re young, the bears’ mothers are usually killed. The bears are then muzzled with muzzles that are usually pierced without anesthetic. The muzzles are attached to a tether used to control the bear.

All of this leads to lifelong distress and pain caused by the wound around the mouth from the muzzle. Dog fighting is another cruel entertainment activity that goes on in the U.S. Dog fighting first began during the Civil War. Many police officers and firefighters used this activity as a source of entertainment. To many people, dog fighting makes a dog stronger, but it only hurts the dog. Participation and spectating at a dog fight is illegal in forty-nine of the fifty states. The only state that allows spectating at a dog fight is Montana (Source 10), but hosting a dog fight is illegal in every state of the U.S. People usually use smaller dogs as bait for the bigger dog; a pit bull is usually used to fight other pit bulls. In dog fighting cases the two dogs fight until one either cannot go any longer or dies.

Many of these dogs are forced to fight because if they do not fight the dog is then abused by the owner. There are three levels of dog fighting, street, professional and hobbyist. Street dog fighting is usually caused by the owners telling another owner whose dog is better and which one can kill the other. Hobbyist dog fighting is more organized than street dog fighting. One or more dogs participate in these fights for both entertainment and a source of income. Professional dog fighting has large outcome of animals, up to fifty or more. These fights are set up to earn money from breeding. Dog fighting is the most common animal entertainment cruelty activity.

So many animals are being used as testers. Lab animals are being killed because people are using them as experimentation. At this very moment millions of cats, dogs, mice, and many other animals are locked in small, cold cages in labs all across the world. SO many of these animals want so badly to get out and roam around like all the other animals, but these animals must stay and wait for the next painful procedure. In March of 2013 the European Union banned any cosmetic that contained ingredients that have been used on animals (Source 9). Israel, China, India, and one by one each country is banning cosmetic testing on animals. Many animals that are used in labs have to endure chemicals being dropped into their eyes, their spinal cords being ripped from their backs, being purposely blinded and many other harmful situations.

There are many alternatives to testing on animals like human volunteers, synthetic brain materials, cell and tissue cultures, computer models and many other alternatives. In addition to these alternatives there things people can do to help stop labs from using animals for testing. Write to the FDA and U.S. EPA urge them to stop requiring cruel animal testing and approve other testing alternatives. Tell the National Institutes of health tax dollars will not be used to underwrite animal experiments. A person can also start buying cruelty free products from cruelty free companies like Faith in Nature, Paul Mitchell, and many others that can be found on

There are many ways a person could help prevent animal abuse. Though there is no way to absolutely get rid of animal abuse there are many people out there that would be delighted to help such as: PETA, HSUS and ASPCA. One nationally known organization is the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The ASPCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching America about preventing animal cruelty. This organization is located everywhere around the United States. Also, every state has at least one animal shelter, for each city, where they take in animals that have been abused or unwanted.

There are about 4 million animals that get put down because the shelter needs more room. There are over 1,000 no- kill animal shelters in the United States. With the help of this no- kill shelters more and more animals are getting a second chance at a better life, and possibly changing a human’s life also. many of the no-kill shelters are not profited by the state meaning they have to use whatever is donated to them by other companies and people. PETA is an organization against using animals for entertainment, clothing, abusing, and eating. This organization works with the government to prosecute those who find it entertaining to abuse and torture animals.

PETA also sends undercover investigators into slaughterhouses and laboratories to report what goes on in them. The HSUS is the Humane Society of the United States based in Washington D.C. This organization is a nonprofit organization that helps give many animals a second chance at life. For example the Humane Society of Northwest Louisiana, a no kill shelter, is funded only by donations and is run by only volunteers. The volunteers of this organization are very dedicated to helping abused and abandoned animals have a second chance at life. Organizations like these are what help the world make the lives of many animals better.

Other ways you can help prevent animal abuse is to follow these steps:

  1. Know who to call to report the abuse
  2. familiarize yourself with the animals in your neighborhood
  3. Make the call and make sure you have plenty of information about the animal and location.
  4. Fight for strong anti- cruelty laws to be passed
  5. Talk to your family and friends about the importance of properly taking care of their pets.

When a person follows these steps it helps the everyone around that person understand how important it is to treat animals properly. It is very important to stress the importance of proper care for animals to younger children because over half of people under the age of 20 are likely to abuse animals because they are unaware of how to properly take care of an animal and they fall under peer pressure. Though there should be more, “there is only one federal cruelty law against animal cruelty.” The Animal Welfare act is the only federal anti-cruelty act which governs the humane care, handling, treatment and transportation of some animals in certain situations.

Animal cruelty cases are some of the worst cases in the world. Animal cruelty can easily be stopped. One person can make a huge impact on the word. Educating your friends and family about how important it is to properly care for an animal without unintentionally abusing the animal. Thanks to organizations like the ASPCA, animals in dangerous situations are being helped out of those situations and put into better homes with families that have an everlasting love for these animals. A suggestion for people who want pets, but do not want to keep up with their pet is to just simply not get one. Many people nowadays think having the best pet will impress others, but what that person really does not realize is this just puts more stress on the owner because that person has to keep up and make sure their pet looks its best.

There are many ways a person can abuse animals, but there are even more ways that it can be prevented, but it will take more than one person to do it. Teaching children about animal abuse at a young age will better prevent them from falling under peer pressure at an older age. When the children are younger and witness something like animal abuse the children will then imitate what they see. The children will grow up and abuse animals because the children think it is the right thing to do because they have not been taught how important it is to not abuse animals.

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