By Pamela Roller

Most people have heard about Michael Vick and his 23-month sentence for a dogfighting conspiracy. With the media blitz on this NFL quarterback’s conviction, I have been made more aware of animal cruelty. I Googled animal cruelty and was unpleasantly shocked at what I found. For the sake of space, I’ll limit my report on household dogs and cats.

The pictures of abused animals shown here are from the
Louisiana SPCA and the Carroll County Humane Society.

Animal cruelty is generally divided into two types:

Passive cruelty (called acts of omission) involves neglect: lack of food and water, veterinary care, failure to remove the animal’s collar when he outgrows it, leaving a dog on a short chain with little access to exercise, and neglecting to spay or neuter, which can lead to health issues and more unwanted pets.

Active cruelty (called acts of commission) involves the intent to cause malicious harm to an animal. This type of cruelty is much more serious because the person doing it is demonstrating sociopathic behaviors. This person will hurt or kill the family pet in order to psychologically torment family members or force them into submission, sex, or silence them about other forms of abuse. In addition, studies have shown that children who abuse animals are more likely to be violent later in life (Children and Animal Cruelty: What Parents Should Know).

In 2007, there were 10,805 reported cases of animal abuse in the United States.
Pet-Abuse.Com and the AARDAS project

Click the graphic on the left to see the statistics on classifications of abuse in the U.S.

For more information, contact the Humane Society of the United States.
If man is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practise kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals. - Immanuel Kant, German Philosopher

~Pamela Roller takes care of three old-lady cats and one young adult cat, two dogs in their prime, and a hamster named Boots who's from the local high school where she teaches English. She is the author of On Silent Wings, a gothic historical romance set in Restoration England. Visit her website at


  1. Beth Trissel // January 3, 2008 at 11:03 PM  

    Horrible. Just horrible. I cringed to see these pics. We love our animals so dearly. They are a true part of the family and we were so grieved to have to say goodbye to our elderly oriental short-hair cat. We had to have him put to sleep due to kidney failure. So sad, but he had been with us for many good years.
    Our home currently has two inside dogs, one a rescue, and two outside dogs, both rescues. A parakeet and two remaining inside cats, both rescues, and innermerable barn cats. Many of whom simply appear. We feed them in case the mousing isn't successful and care for the ones we can catch.

  2. Mona Risk // January 4, 2008 at 1:37 PM  

    I can't look at these pictures. Poor little ones. My Wendy was so spoiled for nine years. But if my daughter hadn't saved the baby kitten roaming outside the fast food Wendy, our darling Wendy may have ended up like these.

    But then, when you think about the world cruelty, these are children that are not trated better. That's how bad people can be.

  3. Mary Marvella // January 4, 2008 at 8:21 PM  

    Ditto, Beth and Mona. I don't understand mean folks.

  4. Sandra Cox // January 5, 2008 at 9:32 AM  

    Its pretty grim.