Animal cruelty is illegal in Colorado:
- Colorado’s animal cruelty statute incorporates elements of both neglect and abuse.
- Victims of animal cruelty can be:
- domestic companion animals
- working animals
- wildlife and other non-domesticated animals
Animals are sentient (WARNING! GRAPHIC IMAGES) creatures and animal victims of violence can experience anxiety, fear, pain and suffering similar to the experiences of human victims of violence.
- The presence of animal cruelty may be indicative of other behaviors with significant public safety and/or human welfare risks.
- Determining the underlying reasons and motivations for the acts of animal cruelty by a specific individual is critical in order to respond effectively to animal cruelty.
- Individualized assessment of animal cruelty offenders is necessary to ensure appropriate and effective interventions and enhance both animal and human welfare.
Acts of animal cruelty can be non-intentional or intentional resulting from:
- acts of omission (often neglect based such as failure to provide food, water, shelter or necessary veterinary care)
- acts of commission (committing acts of harm)
The continuum of animal maltreatment includes many forms and levels of harm:
- emotional abuse (habitual shouting, withholding of provisions, purposefully inducing fear)
- neglect (lack of provisions including food, water, shelter, or failure to provide necessary veterinary care)
- physical violence (hitting, kicking, striking with objects)
- animal fighting (most commonly associated with dogs and roosters)
- sexual abuse (often with animals as a preferential victim or as “practice” for human victims)
- torture (burning, bondage, prolonged and/or abject cruelty)
What can people do to reduce animal cruelty?
- develop greater empathy toward animals (via humane education efforts)
- expand public education and build awareness about animal cruelty and the Link
- be vigilant for early signs of animal cruelty in children
- comprehensively investigate animal maltreatment cases from a Link perspective
- charge and prosecute animal cruelty offenses at the level commensurate with the level of cruelty committed
- engage in active cross-reporting and information sharing on Link cases
- ensure that animal cruelty offenders receive offense specific animal cruelty evaluations
- ensure that sanctions and interventions with animal cruelty offenders are commensurate with public safety risk