Animal Abuse Prevention Tips from Your Veterinarians in Annandale

Recognize Signs of Animal Abuse: Girl Holding Dog's Paw

Many pets are living better lives than ever before, but animal abuse is still a worldwide concern. We’d like to help you learn how to assess potential abuse situations, and how to report these situations correctly. If you have any questions for us, please give us a call at (703) 256-8414.

Recognizing the Signs of Animal Abuse

The ASPCA provides a helpful list of signs you can look for:

Physical Signs

  • An ongoing illness that has not been treated, or an injury that remains unhealed
  • Multiple healed wounds
  • Neck wound caused by tight collar/collar being embedded in the neck
  • Skin conditions that have not been treated (indicated by hair loss, rashes, scaly patches)
  • Parasite (flea and tick) infestations
  • A dirty, severely-matted coat and overgrown nails
  • Visual evidence of an owner intentionally striking/physically abusing an animal
  • Extreme skittishness around people, especially their owner
  • Pet seems confused, dazed

Environmental Signs

  • Pet has clearly been left tied up outside for a long time without proper shelter, food, and water
  • Being kept in a highly unsanitary space littered with garbage, feces, and objects that can hurt them
  • Pet is left outside in harsh weather (very cold, rainy, or very hot) with no access to an adequate shelter or food and water
  • Animals kept in cages or kennels that are far too small to allow for standing and turning around

It is not always as obvious as a serious physical injury. Evidence of abuse can also be seen in an animal’s behavior and how they interact with humans and other animals. Animals that flinch or shy away at contact and become startled easily may have a history of abuse.

Animal Abuse in Annandale: Sad Dog Locked in Cage

What You Can Do to Help

  • First, be aware of local and state animal cruelty laws, and whether cases of suspected animal cruelty should be reported
  • Know who to contact; between animal control and law enforcement, it’s important to understand the functions of each and which individuals you need to be speaking to
  • Try to stay calm and don’t jump to conclusions—get as much information as you can on the situation before you act

Types of Animal Abuse

Cases of abuse are also not limited to situations in which an animal is intentionally harmed. Some of the most common types of animal abuse fall into these categories:

  • Intentional injuries inflicted by owner or other person
  • Animal hoarding situations (can also apply to backyard breeders)
  • Neglect
  • Dog fighting