Orange County Government, Florida

Identifying Animal Cruelty

Being observant can help to save a life, what to look for

Physical Signs

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has provided a list of signs that may indicate an animal needs help:

  • Collar so tight that it has caused a neck wound or has become embedded in the pet's neck.
  • Open wounds, signs of multiple healed wounds or an ongoing injury or illness that isn't being treated.
  • Untreated skin conditions that have caused loss of hair, scaly skin, bumps or rashes.
  • Extreme thinness or emaciation—bones may be visible.
  • Fur infested with fleas, ticks or other parasites.
  • Signs of inadequate grooming, such as extreme matting of fur, overgrown nails and dirty coat.
  • Weakness, limping or the inability to stand or walk normally.
  • An owner striking or otherwise physically abusing an animal.

Environmental Signs

  • Pets tied outside for long periods of time without adequate food or water, or with food or water that is unsanitary.
  • Pets kept outside in inclement weather without access to adequate shelter.
  • Pets kept in an area littered with feces, garbage, broken glass or other objects that could harm them.
  • Animals housed in kennels or cages (very often crowded in with other animals) that are too small to allow them to stand, turn around and make normal movements.

Indications of Dog Fighting

Participating in any dog fighting activities—including watching a dog fight—is a felony in the state of Florida. The so-called "bloodsport" causes immeasurable suffering to the animals who are subjected to it and often goes hand-in-hand with illegal activities such as gambling, drugs, weapons, and other criminal activities.

Here’s what to look for:

  • A large number of pit bulls being kept in one location, especially multiple dogs who are chained or kenneled and seem un-socialized.
  • Dogs with scars on their faces, front legs and stifle area. (hind end and thighs)
  • Dog fighting training equipment, such as:
    • Treadmills used to build dogs' endurance.
    • "break sticks" used to pry apart the jaws of dogs locked in battle.
    • Tires or "springpoles" (a large spring with rope attached to either end) hanging from tree limbs.
    • Unusual foot traffic coming and going from a location at odd hours.

Contact Us

Orange County Animal Services
Pet Rescue & Adoption Center
2769 Conroy Road
Orlando, FL 32839-2162

Phone: (407) 836-3111

All e-mail sent to this address becomes part of Orange County public record. Comments received by our e-mail subsystem can be read by anyone who requests that privilege. In compliance with "Government in the Sunshine" laws, Orange County Government must make available, at request, any and all information not deemed a threat to the security of law enforcement agencies and personnel.