Animal Cruelty

What is Animal Cruelty?

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse, animal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission (animal neglect) or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal, regardless of whether the act is against the law.  More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific achievement, such as killing animals for food or for their fur; opinions differ about the extent of cruelty associated with a given method of slaughter. (reference:  Wikipedia)

Forms of Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty comes in several forms, with the most common forms of animal cruelty in the United States listed below: 


  • Neglect / Abandonment 32%
  • Shooting 11%
  • Hoarding (too many animals kept in unsanitary conditions) 13%
  • Beating 8%
  • Fighting 9%
  • Stabbing 5%
  • Mutilation / Torture 5% 
  • Choking / Strangulation / Suffocation 3%
  • Burning 2%
  • Poisoning 10% 
  • Other 2%

Most Commonly Abused Animals

The animals whose abuse is most often reported are dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.  The average number of animal abuse / cruelty cases reported in the media each year totals 1,920.


  • Animal abuse cases that involved dogs 60% 
  • Animal abuse cases that involved cats 18% 
  • Animal abuse cases that involved other animals 22%
  • Dog abuse cases that involved pit bulls 26% 

Find out more

Animal Cruelty Statistics

25 Fascinating Dog Abuse Facts and Statistics (docx)

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