witnessing animal abuse

What to do if you witness animal abuse

Understanding Abuse

Animal abuse can take many forms, including everything from neglect and failure to provide veterinary care to physical assault. According to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, an animal is in distress if it is:

  • Deprived of adequate food, water, shelter, ventilation, space, care or veterinary treatment
  • Injured, sick, or in pain or suffering
  • Abused or neglected

If you witness any of these things, it’s important to act quickly to prevent any further suffering for the victim.

Reporting It

In the case of an emergency, call 911 and report it to the police. Otherwise, call the Animal Cruelty Reporting Hotline at 1-855-622-7722 (open 7 days a week during business hours). Although some individuals feel more comfortable supplying the information anonymously, providing a testimony in court has the potential to make a huge difference if the case gets that far.

Document Everything

Take note of as much as you can and write it down. The time of day, location, description of the individuals involved, and any photos or video can be extremely helpful in creating a case against an abuser. Always ensure that you are not risking the safety of yourself or the animal when collecting any of this information. Provide as much information as you possibly can.


Moving forward, the best thing to do protect other animals from the same situation is prevention. We at the Animal Abuse Defence Registry want to do everything in our power to ensure that convicted individuals don’t have direct access to potential victims.

What’s your story?

Have you ever witnessed animal abuse? What did you do and what happened? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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