The definition of animal cruelty are acts of violence or neglect perpetrated against animals are considered animal cruelty,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)There are several different reasons why people abuse animals. Animal cruelty spans a wide range of actions (or lack of action), so one blanket answer simply isn’t possible. Each type of abuse has displayed destinct patterns of behavior that we can use to aid in understanding more about why people commit the crimes we have today.
Animal cruelty is often seperated into two main categories: active and passive, also referred to as comission and omission, respectively. Passive Cruelty (Acts of Omission)Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, where the crime is a lack of action rather than the action itself – however do not let the terminology fool you. Severe animal neglect can cause incredible pain and suffering to an animal.
In many cases of neglect where an investigator feels that the cruelty occurred as a result of ignorance, they may attempt to educate the pet owner and then revisit the situation to check for improvements. In more severe cases however, exigent circumstances may require that the animal is removed from the site immediately and taken in for urgent medical care. Active Cruelty (Acts of Comission)Active cruelty implies malicious intent, where a person has deliberately and intentionally caused harm to an animal, and is sometimes referred to as NAI (Non-Accidental Injury).
Acts of intentional cruelty are often some of the most disturbing and should be considered signs of serious psychological problems. This type of behavior is often associated with sociopathic behavior and should be taken very seriously. While both intentional abuse and neglect can happen at the hands of an individual, larger institutions or businesses that involve animals are also often perpetrators of animal cruelty.
For example, the violent training and culling methods used by organized, large scale dog fighters are an example of intentional cruelty and abuse. Canned hunting preserves, of which there are over 4,000 locations in the United States, where exotic animals are penned, sometimes drugged and shot or speared by “hunters” is another form of outright animal abuse (Pacelle 2003). Conversely, the conditions in which many animals are found during a bust of a mass breeding facility, or “puppy mill” is an example of gross animal neglect.