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What is considered animal cruelty?

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Quick Answer

Animal cruelty is violence towards or neglect of animals; examples of premeditated violence include cock or dog fighting. Denying a pet necessities such as food, water and shelter is considered neglect.

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Full Answer

There are two basic categories of animal cruelty: intentional cruelty and neglect. Intentional cruelty is harming an animal intentionally. These include acts such as hitting an animal or otherwise injuring the animal. Animal neglect is not always intentional and is sometimes related to an owner's ignorance of how to care for a particular animal. In these situations, educating the owner is sufficient to resolve the issue. If, after education, the owner does not resolve the issue, law enforcement has the option of removing the animal.

Hoarding is another type of animal neglect. Hoarding is when a person keeps so many animals that they are unable to keep the premises clean and provide for the basic needs of the animals. Hoarders often need psychological treatment to stop the behaviors even after criminal sanctions.

Animal neglect and abuse is a felony charge in 33 states and the District of Columbia. Animal cruelty laws do exclude arguably cruel practices that are accepted in the ordinary care of certain animals. These include practices such as castration, declawing of cats and docking of puppy's tails.

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