Signs & Symptoms

Individuals with knowledge of the following signs and symptoms will be better able to make informed observations and articulate their observations when reporting to appropriate agencies. Learn these signs and symptoms to assist you in determining when to report or cross-report Link concerns and what to articulate in your reporting.


Animal Maltreatment

Colorado’s animal cruelty statute 18-9-202 defines the acts or omissions that constitute animal cruelty in Colorado. The statute includes a spectrum of maltreatment of  animals including: physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, endangerment and neglect. Many acts of animal cruelty are deliberate, intentional acts of violence and/or torture while others are acts of omission involving extreme levels of neglect. In most instances, animals experience significant pain and suffering.


Child Maltreatment

Acts of callousness, neglect by omission, and acts of violence toward animals in an environment may not be limited to non-humans. Children are also often victims of maltreatment in such homes. Additionally, children who have been victims of maltreatment are more likely to engage in neglect and abuse of animals.


Criminal Behaviors Related to Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty is in itself criminal behavior and often is associated with more forms of anti-social and criminal behaviors. Research has shown that animal cruelty offenders  often engage in criminal behaviors more frequently than the general population. Animal fighting operations typically incorporate multiple illegal activities such as possession of illegal drugs and contraband, gambling, tax evasion and possession of weapons.


Interpersonal Violence

Animal cruelty is a form of violence that is often used to control and intimidate victims of intimate partner violence (often referred to as domestic violence) and for some individuals represents a “gateway” behavior leading to violence directed at humans.


Maltreatment or Self-Harm of At-Risk Adults

At-risk adults may suffer maltreatment from the acts of other persons or through self-harming behaviors or self-neglect. Individuals with diminished capacities are more readily in jeopardy of victimization by others through neglect, abuse or exploitation.