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Photo of Amaretto, a shelter dog

Animal Abuse/Neglect

Animals give us their complete trust and loyalty. They love us unconditionally and enrich our lives. This makes it all the more upsetting when an animal is being abused or neglected. At Action For Animals, we believe education is the key for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Unfortunately many people are not aware of all the issues and time involved in caring for an animal.

What is animal neglect/abuse?
Before you report abuse or neglect, evaluate the situation first. Many times what appears to be neglect from across the street at your neighbor's house is simply misinterpreted.

If you believe an animal is not being fed, or left for hours without water, or has no way to get of the rain, sun or wind, look more closely during different times of the day to be sure.

However, if you discover the animal has inadequate shelter from the weather, isn't fed everyday, or doesn't always have water in his/her bowl, you can be sure this animal is being neglected and needs help. Animal abuse is more immediately recognizable such as choking, beating/kicking, torturing, etc.

According to Pennsylvania Law:

  1. A person commits a summary offense of animal cruelty if he/she:
    • Cruelly ill-treats, overloads, beats, or otherwise abuses ANY animal
    • Neglects any animal as to which they are to care for (whether they own the animal or not)
    • Deprives any animal of food, water, shelter, or veterinary care
    • Deprives any animal of access to clean and sanitary shelter: shelter must be dry, protect animal from bad weather and preserve the animal's body heat
    • Abandons or attempts to abandon any animal
  2. A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if he/she willfully and maliciously:
    • Kills, maims or disfigures any domestic animal or fowl of another person
    • Harasses, injures, annoys, molests or interferes with a guide dog, a hearing dog or a service dog
    • Administers poison or exposes a poisonous substance with the intent to administer the poison to any domestic animal or fowl

In addition, the killing, maiming, mutilating, torturing or disfiguring of any dog or cat whether belonging to himself/herself or not, is classified as a misdemeanor of the first degree.

If you see an animal being abused or neglected, please report it immediately! However, if a case does not fall under the cruelty laws, we do not have the power to take action. For example, complaints about dogs running at large, damaging property, or not having a license are strictly violations of Pennsylvania Dog Law, but we are more than happy to refer your calls to the appropriate person.

Action For Animals is currently without a full time Humane Agent. Please contact the Humane Society Police Officers at the Humane Society of Westmoreland County to report abuse/neglect. The Humane Officers can be reached by calling 724-689-9468 or by email at .

Please don't stand by and watch an animal suffer – they can't speak for themselves. You can be their voice for help!