Crimes Against Animals

Crimes Against AnimalsThe Crime Museum is not only concerned with crimes against humanity, but crimes against animals as well.

Sadly, any animal, anywhere in the world, can be a victim of crime. Even our closest companions, our pets can fall victim. Wildlife, horses, and farm animals can also be victims of cruelty and neglect. In some cases, acts perpetrated against animals may not be illegal, but can still be cruel.

At the national level, the largest and most effective animal protection organization is The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The HSUS has done more to combat illegal animal cruelty and animal fighting than any other organization in the country. The HSUS has the nation’s leading experts on investigating and prosecuting animal abusers, a national tip line to report animal fighting, a standing $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of an animal fighter, and a fully equipped response team to rescue animals in need. Working with federal and local law enforcement, in 2010, the HSUS rescued thousands of animals from desperate situations of abuse, and where necessary, helped prosecute those responsible.

In Washington DC, the Washington Humane Society (WHS) is the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States. WHS provides comfort and care to over 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering, adoption, spay and neuter services, CatNiPP (Cat Neighborhood Partnership Program), humane law enforcement, lost and found, human/animal therapy programs and humane education

The following are just some eye-opening facts about animals, crimes and cruelty. We thank The Humane Society of the United States, and the Washington Humane Society, for this information.

Cruel Facts:

  • Did you know that often, sadistic acts of animal abuse are a stepping stone to abusing humans?
  • Did you know that in a shocking number of cases, individuals who commit terrible acts of violence against people, such as serial killers, child abusers, spousal abusers and rapists, have a history of animal abuse? For example, as a youth, Albert DeSalvo (the Boston strangler) trapped cats and dogs in crates and abused them.
  • Did you know that a 1997 study discovered that 40% of animal abusers had committed acts of violence against people?
  • Did you know that it is estimated nearly 1 million animals a year are abused or killed in connection with domestic violence?
  • Did you know that according to a July 2004 report by the Chicago Police Department, 70% of people arrested for animal crimes had been arrested for other felonies and 65% had been arrested for battery crimes?
  • Did you know that 46 states and the District of Columbia currently have laws that make intentional cruelty against an animal a felony charge? Before 1986, only four states had felony animal cruelty laws.
  • Did you know that dog-fighting and cock-fighting are illegal in all 50 states?
  • Did you know that pit bulls, in particular, constitute an increasing percentage of victimized animals?
  • Did you know that neglect and abandonment are the most common forms of companion animal abuse
  • Did you know that dogs are the most common victims of animal cruelty? Of the 1,880 cruelty cases reported in the media in 2007, 64.5% (1,212) involved dogs.
  • Did you know that 18 red foxes are killed to make one fox coat, and 55 mink are killed to make one mink coat?
  • Did you know that wildlife officials estimate that over 100 million wild animals are illegally poached each year in the United States?
  • Did you know that it has been documented that raccoon dogs, a wild species within the dog family that is often made into fur trim, have been skinned alive for their fur?
  • Did you know that despite a ban on commercial hunting, a small number of countries still kill thousands of whales every year?
  • Did you know that many of the dolphins you see in dolphin shows or in swim-with-the-dolphin programs have been violently captured from the wild? These intelligent, self-aware animals are not suited to life in captivity.
  • Did you know that every year tens of millions of sharks are caught and have their fins hacked off? Shark fins are considered a delicacy among some cultures and countries. These helpless sharks are then thrown back into the ocean, only to drown or bleed to death.
  • Did you know that it is illegal to sell polar bear skins in the United States but there are no such restrictions in Europe and Japan?
  • Did you know that it is illegal to import and sell ivory in the United States but that the United States is the second largest ivory market in the world after China?

How You Can Help

National Information

Humane Society of the United States – (202) 452-1100
The HSUS’ Animal Fighting Tip Line, 877-TIP-HSUS, is a nationwide tip line that fields calls from across the country to help stamp out organized animal fighting for good. If you have information about illegal dogfighting or cockfighting, call the tip line to talk to an HSUS investigator; your information will be kept confidential. You may also be eligible for a $5,000 reward. The HSUS offers up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of an animal fighter.

To help stop illegal hunting, familiarize yourself with your state’s wildlife protection laws and report illegal hunting to the state wildlife agency’s tip line. Find the number at www.humanesociety.org/poaching.

In Washington, DC

To Report Cruelty/Neglect and Animal Emergencies 24-Hours a Day
202-BE-HUMANE (202-234-8626)

Adopt a Pet – (800) 728-3273
Adopt-a-Pet.com (formerly 1-800-Save-A-Pet.com) is a non-profit pet adoption charity that helps shelters, humane societies, SPCAs, pet rescue groups, and pet adoption agencies advertise their homeless pets to adopters for free.

DC Humane Society – (202) 723-5730
The Washington Humane Society (WHS), the only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency in the United States, provides comfort and care to over 30,000 animals each year through its broad range of programs and services including sheltering, adoption, spay and neuter services, CatNiPP, humane law enforcement, lost and found, human/animal therapy programs and humane education.


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