The three main types of animal cruelty or abuse are neglect, intentional cruelty and sexual abuse. Neglect can include starvation, dehydration and confinement in inappropriate or dirty conditions. Brutality to an animal, such as any physical harm including beating or burning is considered intentional cruelty. It's important to learn to recognize the telltale signs of animal cruelty so that you can report it to the proper authorities. Here is a list of some of the signs to look out for.

  • Bodily wounds
  • Infected eyes
  • Bald patches in the hair
  • Limping
  • Being left alone in a hot, closed car
  • Severe tick and flea infestation
  • Very thin animal
  • Owner hitting his animal [source: Ontario SPCA]

Should you encounter an animal that looks abused, you must report it immediately. We will now tell you how to report animal cruelty.

  1. Make the call Report the animal abuse that you have witnessed to the appropriate authorities. In some states, you can report it to the Law Enforcement Department of the local ASPCA. If there is no local ASPCA office in your area, contact any humane society office [source: ASPCA]. Larger cities often have their own animal control agencies or animal shelters where you can report cruelty. If you're in an area without any such official agency, you can call the local police department to make your report.
  2. Keep records Be sure that your report is accurate and that you provide all the necessary information. Make sure that to give the exact time and date, the location, the type of abuse you noticed and the people that you suspect are involved in the abuse. Having any type of photographs can be very helpful in strengthening your case.
  3. Testify It's not incumbent upon you to identify yourself as the witness or to give testimony about your observation but it makes your case stronger if you don't remain anonymous. It also gives the authorities more evidence with which to prosecute the perpetrator [source: HSUS]. //]]]]> ]]>