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Facts, Statistics, and Stories About Animal and Pet Abuse

Angela is a cat and dog lover who has made special efforts to learn as much as she can about the animals she cares for.

Facts and Statistics About Animal Cruelty

Facts and Statistics About Animal Cruelty

Facts About Animal Cruelty

Animal abuse occurs throughout the world and across many demographics. Dogs, cats, horses, and livestock tend to be the most commonly abused animals, and new abuse cases develop every day. Here are some alarming animal abuse facts and statistics. Also included in this article is the story of an abused pit bull named Lady, whose story has inspired countless survivors of trauma.

Animal Abuse Statistics

  • Neglect and abandonment are the most common forms of abuse towards domestic animals in the United States.
  • According to, 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats) each year; an estimated 2.6 million were euthanized in 2011.
  • Of the reported dog abuse cases, pit bulls make up the majority.
  • Many dogs die every year due to being left in hot cars. Dogs can die within 15 minutes from heat stroke since they can only pant and sweat through their paws to cool off when it is very hot.
  • reports that 71% of victims of domestic violence reported that their abuser also targeted their pets. Investigators of animal abuse cases often discover that domestic abuse is happening within the same household.
  • When training a dog for dogfighting, the dog is often abused, starved, and tortured to trigger aggressiveness. Dogs that lose in a dog fight are often burned, drowned, electrocuted, or beaten to death by their owners. Dog and cock-fighting are illegal in every state in the United States.
A sanctuary for abused animals.

A sanctuary for abused animals.

2018 Animal Abuse Statistics in the U.S.

Data reported via

Type of Abuse% of Cases

Death by Neglect


Lethal Gunshot


Lethal Asphyxiation


Death by Poison or Fighting


Death by Physical Abuse


Death by Torture


Misc. (Hunting, Burns, etc.)


Lady the Pit Bull's Brave Story

Years ago, an unknown suspect severely burned a one-year-old pitbull/shepherd mix named Lady on one Halloween night. When the owner responded to her barks and screams, Lady was entirely engulfed in flames. Lady rolled around and put the fire out herself but was severely injured and in severe pain.

The care team later learned that Lady had been doused with gasoline and set on fire as part of a twisted Halloween prank. As one observer put it, "[W]hat happened to the good ol' days of egging and toilet papering someone's house[?]." Such an act is despicable and a far cry from a prank.

Lady after being burned.

Lady after being burned.

Treating Severe Skin Burns in Dogs

A week after this horrific act, Lady's condition worsened, and her owner surrendered her to the Humane Society (which I can only imagine was a heart-wrenching decision). This decision was most likely due to financial limitations since Lady required advanced medical care. Her owner probably had to decide whether to put Lady down or give her a chance to be cared for by someone with the financial means to cover the expensive treatments.

Treating burns like Lady's is time-consuming and costs thousands of dollars. One main concern with severe burns is the development of secondary skin infections due to a compromised skin barrier. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), the team working with Lady was experienced in burn care and gave her the best chance for a successful recovery.

From the very beginning, the team was optimistic about Lady's outcome because they found healthy skin cells near the damaged areas. Yet, anytime a person or dog is burned that severely, complications can arise, and the medical costs are high. But even after a few short weeks, Lady appeared to be doing well emotionally and would encourage the caretakers to rub her chin. She was very friendly and alert, and according to the veterinarians and vet techs, she was the sweetest, kindest patient they had ever cared for. Thankfully, Lady made a full recovery.

Lady Helps to Inspire Child Burn Victims

After Lady's recovery, she found a forever home with Gretchen Kohsmann, a fire investigator. Gretchen also directs a burn-victim camp in Lansing, which serves as a refuge for children who are victims of fire and suffered severe burns. Lady now lives with Gretchen, her two children, and two dogs in their home most of the year, except when the camp is running. The hope is that Lady will also attend the camp and serve as an inspiration to dozens of children and that they will feel a little less alone in her presence.

When Lady and her new owner left for their forever home, the fire department members who found Lady and the investigators who were a part of her rehabilitation were all there to say goodbye.

Monkey for Protection of Animals

Monkey for Protection of Animals

Report Animal Abuse and Protect Innocent Lives

My heart broke when I saw Lady in person, and I could not believe how anyone could be so cruel to an animal. I don't have words to express what I think of a person who could do such a hideous, cruel act! A person who could be that cruel to another living species may abuse or kill a person. Normal, mentally healthy people would never do something like this.

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Read More From Pethelpful

Animal abuse cases are numerous, and they happen worldwide and across many demographics. It is our responsibility to end animal cruelty and protect the innocent lives of animals. Consider how you can get involved.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Angela Michelle Schultz


bookpaw on February 09, 2018:

it broke my heart when i saw this dog

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on September 29, 2011:

I think your sentiments are shared by a vast majority.

Stusent on September 26, 2011:

How could anyone do such a wrong thing! how would they like it if i lit them on fire! It bs Cats Dogs all anamlis are just like us they have rights to do what they want and anyone that hurts them can go the He11

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on April 27, 2011:

Kathy, I wonder if there is an update out there. I should check on that. But yes, it is such a heineous thing! I think if a person can do this to a dog, then they are capable of doing it to a person. I think in this case, they should be treated the same as if they had harmed a human. And this is coming from someone who does not feel animals should be held as equal to human.

Kathy from Independence, Kansas on April 25, 2011:

Oh Angela, this is just heartbreaking and sickening. How could anyone do such a thing? How can they look at themselves in the mirror; what must go through such a person's mind during the quiet am hours when not sleeping? I think it takes quite a bit of self loathing to do such a heinous thing to a defenseless animal. I am in total agreement with your feelings and reaction to this pathetic story. Bless the Veterinarians who are helping this baby. You have done a wonderful thing writing about this and spreading the word. Thank you so much. Kathy aka Lucky Cats

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on February 18, 2011:

Yes, I know what you mean. Here I am trying to nurse my cat back to health, and crying over it being sick. I just can't understand how someone could possibly abuse a cat like that. You know if they are willing to do that to a dog, that its not too much farther to do that to a human.

stephencardiff on February 18, 2011:

I cant undertsand why people treat helpless animals in this way... It sickens me to think they got away with it... Nice Hub Though

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 14, 2010:

Your welcome. I am hoping the same thing. :)

Susan Mills from Indiana on November 14, 2010:

This breaks my heart, as I can see it does so many others. I shared your hub on my facebook page and hope everyone else who has a page does too. I can't help this poor little sweetie, but maybe, like you said, we can all get the word out, so someone who can sees her and knows she needs them.

Thank you for writing this hub.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 13, 2010:

It is absolutely horrible that anyone would do this isn't it.

Sabrae from Georgia on November 13, 2010:

Someone needs to find whomever did this and set them on fire!

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 12, 2010:

My thoughts exactly. It makes me sick whenever I think about it.

Ireno Alcala from Bicol, Philippines on November 12, 2010:

Oh. my God1 How could he/she do this to this helpless animal?!!! The person who did this has no conscience or sympathy at all or maybe under the influence of drugs?!!!

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 11, 2010:

Jasper I actually recently read that someone who did this same thing got six months in jail and owed a five hundred dollar fine, and had probation for I don't remember how long. Totally doesn't fit the crime.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 11, 2010:

cwarden, my heart hurts too for the dog. I wish there was something that I could do for it. I want to hug it too. The first time I saw the dog I wanted to look away, but then I couldn't help just looking at it. How cruel!!!

jasper420 on November 11, 2010:

peopple are sick this makes me very angrey that someone could do this that poor dog who ever did this needs to be locked up for a very long time

cwarden from USA on November 11, 2010:

This is just horrible. I can barely stand to look at the pictures of this innocent puppy, but at the same time I just want to give it a big hug.

I can't imagine what really motivates someone to do such things, but you are correct with your statement that it will likely progress. Especially if this crime was committed by an adolescent.

My heart is really hurting for this poor dog. :(

Thank you for sharing this and I will do the same.

Angela Michelle Schultz (author) from United States on November 11, 2010:

No kidding, someone who could do something like that to a dog, would someday progress to harming people. They should be confined for a lot longer than law probably allows in the case of animal abuse. I don't know what the actual maximum punishment is for such behavior.

Don A. Hoglund from Wisconsin Rapids on November 11, 2010:

Some people seem to be just plain sadistic. We ourselves have adopted a shelter dog that had some sort of abuse of neglect which makes her very shy of people. Not as bad as the one you describe which should result in some sort of confinemnet for the perpetrator.

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