Animal abuse is a major issue in our society. And the signs of animal abuse are often challenging to spot. However, with the proper knowledge, you can correctly identify the abuse and help put an end to it. In this blog post, we will give you an in-depth look at some signs to keep an eye out for and how you can help our team at Wounded Paw Project put a stop to this cruel abuse.

Animals are often the most helpless members of our society. They depend on us to take care of them, feed them and keep them safe from harm. Unfortunately, some individuals out there will abuse this trust for their own sick pleasure or personal gain. And without any signs pointing towards it, these animals could be suffering at the hands of their abusers for weeks, months, or even years before anyone would ever know.

Signs of Animal Abuse to Look Out for

It’s crucial that we all become aware of the signs of animal abuse so that we can help put an end to it. And luckily, there are a few signs that tend to be shared amongst most cases of animal abuse. Here are just a few signs you should be looking out for:

Malnourished Puppy

Poor Body Condition

One of the most obvious signs of animal abuse is an animal with severe matting, filthy fur, and open and apparent wounds on its body. The animal may be infested with ticks and fleas and is underweight with clearly visible bones. A dog experiencing abuse may even be limping or unable to walk and is in obvious distress.

The Animal has Been Abandoned

If an animal has been left in a house, yard, or other areas devoid of normal behavior, it is a clear sign of animal abuse. For example, a dog that has been left inside a vacant home to die and fend for itself. It is also very important to note that it is illegal in all 50 states to abandon an animal.

Lack of Shelter

Animals that are forced to live outdoors in extreme weather conditions with no shelter or protection from the elements are also likely experiencing some form of abuse. This could be signs of neglect and can result in serious health problems for the animal, such as frostbite, dehydration, heatstroke, and hypothermia. If you leave your animal in a car for an extended period, you can also be charged with animal abuse.

Lack of Sanitation

A lack of sanitation is also another sign of animal abuse. If the individual neglecting this animal does not have a way to dispose of their pet’s waste or cannot provide fresh food and water, then signs of abuse are likely to be present.

No Food or Water

If an animal is found to be malnourished and has no access to food or water, the owner is likely withholding these basic needs on purpose. This could lead to serious health problems for the animal and can also be signs of neglect. If you see an animal that seems to have no obvious food or water source, it may be aggressive due to starvation and thirst, which are both clear signs of animal abuse.

Shady Pet Owners

If a pet owner never lets you see or be around their animals, there is a high possibility that this is one of the signs of animal abuse. This could be because the owner is hiding something, such as an injured animal or covered in scars.

Tied or Caged Animals

If a pet owner leaves their animal tied up, caged, or confined somehow and does not give them adequate space to move freely, then signs of animal abuse are likely to be present. This is especially true if the individual has more than one animal they do this with. In which case, it could be signs of overcrowding and hoarding.

Owners that are ‘hoarders’ or ‘collectors’ can be signs of animal abuse as well. If someone has an excessive number of animals and is struggling to care for them properly, signs of neglect and hoarding may also present themselves, resulting in serious health problems such as malnutrition, starvation, and dehydration.

signs of animal abuse

Chains or Padlocks Around Animal's Neck

If an owner is seen to be using chains or padlocks to keep their animal restrained, it is a clear sign of animal abuse. This could also be a sign of torture and can also lead to other health problems for the animal.

The Animal is Displaying Strange Behavior

One of the other signs of animal abuse is an animal that is exhibiting strange behavior. This could be signs of ‘learned helplessness which is where abused or neglected animals give up hope and stop trying to escape their abusers even when they are given opportunities for freedom. If this happens, it can also lead to other signs such as self-mutilation and aggression.

There are Signs the Animal has Been Used for Fighting

If an animal is found to have scars all over their body, this could be a sign that they have been used for dogfighting. In addition, if you find animals in cages together and there are clear signs of injuries between them, it is likely that these animals have been used in a fight ring. This is one of the most severe types of animal abuse and is unfortunately very common.

Overt Acts of Violence

An important sign of animal abuse that you need to keep an eye out for is any overt acts of violence. This could be signs of beating, shooting, choking, and burning. If you see any animal that has injuries consistent with this type of abuse, it is important to get help immediately.

What to do if You Notice Signs of Animal Abuse

If you see signs of animal abuse in your neighborhood, the best thing to do is call local law enforcement right away.

It may also help if you report any signs of neglect or food and water deprivation that are not life-threatening but could save an animal’s life by preventing further health problems. You can also share these signs of animal abuse with friends, family, and your community as a way to spread awareness about animal abuse.

At Wounded Paw Project, we are dedicated to saving abused and neglected animals from all over the country. And we need your help to do so! Contact us today for more information about how you can become a part of our mission at WPP!