Animal Abuse & Neglect
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.
If you witness or suspect animal abuse or neglect, please take the following steps:
- DOCUMENT: Take note of the date, time, exact location and the type of animal(s) involved. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) can help bolster your case.
- CONTACT LAW ENFORCEMENT: Contact your local animal control agency or county sheriff's office and present your complaint and evidence. You may wish to remain anonymous, but doing so may make successful prosecution of the case more difficult.
- FOLLOW UP: Be the squeaky wheel. If it seems like your complaint is not being taken seriously, keep calling back. Scheduling an in-person meeting with the law enforcement agency may have a greater impact. If all else fails, getting local media interested in the story is a sure-fire way of grabbing the attention of law enforcement.
Reporting Animal Cruelty or Animal Emergencies
To report animal cruelty, abuse and neglect -- or to notify the County about an animal that is injured, trapped or in distress, please contact:
Clay County Animal Care & Control
Clay County Animal Control Ordinances
*Florida Statute 828.12 – Cruelty to animals: to unnecessarily overload, overdrive, torture, torment, deprive of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily or cruelly beat, mutilate, or kill an animal, or cause the same to be done, or carry in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner.
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