April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, a campaign started by the ASPCA in 2006 to celebrate protecting our animals from harm.
During this month we need to learn how we as human beings can prevent cruelty and take action against it. Sometimes the laws are unclear and different between counties and cities, but there are Arkansas laws that encompass the entire state. You must learn your local and state laws regarding domestic animals and livestock so that you can know the steps to take to stop the abuse.
In Arkansas the following laws apply statewide:
(1) Cruelty to animals ARK. CODE ANN. § 5-62-103
(2) Aggravated cruelty to dogs, cats, horses ARK. CODE. ANN. § 5-62-104
Aggravated cruelty is the physical abuse or overworking of an animal – a malicious act that causes harm or unnecessary suffering. However, what is the definition of “cruelty” when it comes to the law? These are the following categories of cruelty to animals.
– Neglect – not providing proper food, water, or shelter.
– Abandonment – such as dumping of animals or leaving them behind after moving.
– Leaving Pets in Hot or Cold Cars
– Animal Hoarding (certain cities have pet limits in place to prevent this)
There are also city-specific laws, for example, the City of Little Rock prohibits keeping your dog chained for extended periods.
So, what do you need to do if you witness animal cruelty?
If you see a dog locked in a hot car or witness a person inflicting pain on an animal, you should call 9-1-1 so they can advise you, but other situations are less clear-cut.
- Assess the situation and try to gather evidence such as photographs and videos. DON’T trespass or try to take animals from the property as this is illegal and could land you in trouble, but the evidence is crucial to investigations.
- Contact your local animal control. If you’re unable to find information for your area, contact the police. They will be able to direct you to who you need to contact. Local rescues may also be able to help by providing info and resources.
- Help investigators, but don’t interfere. Though you can report cruelty anonymously, being willing to give testimony can help a cruelty case exponentially.
If you witness cruelty report it and follow up if you don’t see results. Research your local laws and stand up for the creatures that don’t have voices.
Here are some resources to research your local laws:
Animal Legal and Historical Center
Arkansas State Animal Control Association
City of Little Rock Animal Services
If you are unsuccessful with your local organizations below are links you can also use to report animal cruelty and find more info about the steps you can take to stop it:
Animal Humane Society – Report Animal Cruelty
Please share any info you feel will help people learn their local laws. Do your city laws differ from others? The more we learn, the more we can do.