Facts, Statistics, and Stories About Animal and Pet Abuse

Updated on January 16, 2020
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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 | Source

Facts About Animal Cruelty

Animal abuse occurs all throughout the world and across many demographics. Dogs, cats, horses, and livestock tend to be the most commonly abused animals of all 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 ASPCA.org, 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 cases of dog abuse, pit bulls make up the majority.
  • 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. Many dogs die every year due to being left in hot cars.
  • The HumaneSociety.org 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 in order to trigger aggressiveness due to survival instincts.
  • 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. | Source

2018 Animal Abuse Statistics in the U.S.

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.)
Data reported via Fabiosa.com

Lady the Pit Bull's Brave Story

Years ago on one Halloween night, an unknown suspect severely burned a one-year-old pit bull/shepherd mix named Lady. By the time 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 such a far cry from a prank.

Lady after being burned.
Lady after being burned. | Source

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 made 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 a time-consuming process that 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 chances 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's story is an inspiration to child burn victims.
Lady's story is an inspiration to child burn victims. | Source

Lady Helps to Inspire Child Burn Victims

After Lady's recovery, she ended up finding 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 to 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 | Source

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 very well may abuse or kill a person. Normal, mentally healthy people would never do something like this.

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


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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      it broke my heart when i saw this dog

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      8 years ago from United States

      I think your sentiments are shared by a vast majority.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

      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.

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      9 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

      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 profile image


      9 years ago

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

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

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 

      9 years ago from Indiana

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

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

    • gqgirl profile image


      9 years ago from Georgia

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

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

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

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 

      9 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

      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!!!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      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 profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      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 profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      9 years ago from United States

      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.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      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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