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Animal cruelty can be either deliberate abuse or simply the failure to take care of an animal. Either way, and whether the animal is a pet, a farm animal, or wildlife, the victim can suffer terribly. Don’t despair, though—anyone can take steps against cruelty.


People with emotional problems may beat, shoot, or stab animals or set them on fire. Those who abuse animals are very likely to be violent to other people—even their own family—too.

Neglect is not giving an animal the right food, water, shelter or vet care. Because their misery goes on for so long, animals who die of neglect can suffer just as much as animals who are harmed on purpose.

All U.S. states have animal cruelty laws, and 47 states treat some forms of abuse as felonies. Farmers and researchers can do cruel things to animals that other people can't do legally, but all states have some protection for pets like dogs and cats.


Take Action Against Animal Cruelty

If you think an animal is being abused, either through violence or through cruel neglect, you can take action to help!

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News & Events

  • April 14, 2014

    Joan Jett Wants Rhode Island to Protect Elephants from Abuse

    Joan Jett, on the heels of her performance with Nirvana at the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, penned a letter urging lawmakers in Rhode Island to ban inhumane elephant training devices.

  • March 25, 2014

    Animal Protection Group Partners With Paramount Pictures

    The Humane Society of the United States is proud to announce a partnership with Paramount Pictures on the theatrical release of Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming film “Noah,” in theaters on March 28, 2014.

  • March 24, 2014

    National Law Enforcement Council Strengthens Animal Protection

    To step up its fight against all forms of illegal animal cruelty, The Humane Society of the United States formed its National Law Enforcement Council comprising current and former law enforcement officers and prosecutors from across the country.

  • March 1, 2014

    Virginia Senate Passes Pet Protection Bill

    A bill to prevent domestic violence survivors from further endangering themselves and their children for the sake of their pets, passed the Virginia Senate on Thursday after five years of ongoing debate.

More News & Events

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