Criminal Behaviors Related to Animal Cruelty

 Animal cruelty may often present substantial public safety implications due to criminal behaviors associcated with animal cruelty.

Animal cruelty is a criminal offense  that manifest predominately as  threats of violence, violence and may be associated with other criminal behaviors.

Animal cruelty is a form of violence in which the often helpless non-human victims are entirely capable of experiencing pain and suffering.

Violence directed towards the companion animals for the purpose of  intimidating, threatenting or controlling the behaviors of family member is a form of family violence.

Individuals that engage in violence towards animals may also be a significant risk towards humans. Most typically the “Link” behaviors related to animal cruelty are child abuse and neglect, elder maltreatment (and self harm) , and /or domestic violence.  More covertly, animal fighting is a form of  criminal  behavior (often well organized) which  results in brutality towards animals and involves other crimes such as  gambling,  illegal drugs, illegal weapons, tax evasion, etc.   Hoarding is quite prevalent and has in recent years received substantial media attention.  Individuals engaged in hoarding typically  have significant mental health issues and hoarding investigations are complex and resource intensive for all involved respondents.

Animal cruelty often overlaps with other criminal behaviors that may be less overt yet potentially dangerous for the public or for professionals required to contact individuals on their properties or other premises. Awareness of other forms of criminal behaviors which may be related to animals can improve safety and also provide valuable intelligence information for  investigators and first responders.

Individuals that engage in the brutality of animal fighting minimize the pain and suffering of animals often in the presence of children.

About Animal Fighting

Animal fighting is the deliberate fighting of animals is a felony level criminal activity in Colorado per statute 18-9-204.

  • spectating at animal fighting events is illegal in Colorado
  • most common forms of animal fighting involve dogs or roosters
  • animal fighting is also known as  “blood sports”
  • spectators view the “blood sports”  as  a form of entertainment
  • events may be well organized and occur in settings that are inconspicuous or hard to detect (rural areas, farms, abandoned buildings, etc)
  • may be part of a larger criminal enterprise involving gangs, gambling, tax evasion
  • presence of weapons and illegal drugs (including illegal veterinary medical drugs by owners to treat their animals or performance enhancement)
  • large sums of cash may trade hands during “blood sport” events through both gambling and prize money
  • the owners of fighting animals seldom if ever use legitimate veterinary medical care for their animals
  • helpless animals are used as “bait” for training fighting animals
  • animals that do not win are are often disposed by inhumane and brutal methods
  • children and at-risk adults may be endangered  by animal fighting activities
  • children and adolescents are often exposed to animal fighting may become desensitized to the pain and suffering of animals
  • children may be expected or coerced into participating in animal fighting activities
Some Signs of Animal Fighting Activities
  • presence of dogs that have cropped ears and tails with scars or recent wounds
  • training equipment ( click here for  ASPCA Pro webpage containing an animal fighting Glossary )
  • locations with multiple animals such as roosters in separate cages or dogs separated by  heavy chains
  • possession or presence of  paraphernalia related to animal fighting (certificates, magazines, trophies, websites, pictures, videos)
  • medical equipment and supplies used to treat animals on the site
  • fight rooms or arenas  ( often found in back rooms, basements, back yards)