What to do if you witness abuse to an animal ?

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In Switzerland, the animal protection law regulates the conditions of detention and the way of taking care of animals, the forbidden practices, the conditions of breeding, the conditions of transport, the coverage and the care to provide, the conditions of experiments on animals and conditions of killing and slaughter. It applies to all vertebrates, and to the other animals under certain conditions.

This law stipulates in the article 4 that
« 1- Every person who takes care of animals owes : a) to take into account at best their needs ; b) to watch their well-being as far as the purpose of their use allows it ;
2- Nobody should in a inequitable way cause pains to animals, troubles or damage, put them in a state of anxiety or strike a blow at their dignity in a different way. It is forbidden to mistreat animals, to neglect them or to overwork them pointlessly.
3- The federal Council forbids the other practices on animals which strike a blow at their dignity.”

So, what to do if you witness abuse to an animal ?
what do I see ?

  • If possible, take photos or make a video.
  • Note carefully the place, the date, and the hour of your observation.
  • Indicate the case to the Animal Protection Society of your area or to the cantonal veterinarian in writing if possible. Mention your name, your address, and your phone number. Be factual and describe exactly the facts the witness of which you were without forgetting the following information : what species ? how many animals ? what place (house, pasture, stable, …)? who is the owner (if known) ? are there other witnesses ? If yes, names and addresses of these.

All which can look like an abuse or a carelessness doesn’t establish necessarily a breach of the animal protection legislation. According to cantons, the APS or the cantonal veterinarian will control to estimate the situation and verify that the noticed abuse is really a breach of the legislation.

Have you already witnessed abuse to an animal ? If yes, what did you do ?


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23 thoughts on “What to do if you witness abuse to an animal ?

  1. The Island Cats

    A long time ago, the mom once saw a neighbor being really mean to her dog, yelling at it and beating it with a newspaper. The mom told the lady to stop being mean to her dog, that she was going to call the humane society. And unfortunately, the lady got really mad at the mom and threatened her. The mom backed off at that point because she was afraid that lady would start beating her…but the lady did stop beating her dog.

  2. Marg

    In this area, it would be hard to explain to the people that they are abusing their animals. A number of people keep their dogs tied up all the time which is abuse to me. So I guess it all depends on how abuse is defined.

  3. Bev Green

    Many times as a shelter vol i have seen the results…i pity the person who ever mistreats an animal in front of me….i fear for their well being….i am a pretty angry girl when i get going…my own father once swung a power cord near Forrests face because he came to sniff him…i have not spoken to him since and that was 6 years and i never will again..long story but i did tell him that Forrest had given me more love than he ever had..sad but true..and explains my preference for four leggeds..loves Fozziemum xx

  4. Hannah and Lucy

    Mistreating animals in their own homes and gardens is the lowest thing that can be done – how could that animal ever sit on a lap in peace after seeing that done.
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  5. Melissa & Truffles

    I’m actually writing about this for a Go Orange for Animals ASPCA post this month. I and many others witnessed a man yanking and dragging his elderly dog who could barely walk. I called the humane society who was aware of the situation, but I never did learn if the dog was taken to a safer situation.

  6. Summer

    My human has never witnessed animal cruelty… and if she did she would probably get in trouble because it would be really hard for her not to attack the perpetrator!

  7. da tabbies o trout towne

    pixie & zorro….a grate post two day, thanx for sharin…de food gurl heer in trout towne haz thanxx full lee never “witnessed” animal abuse and her hopes ta cod her never does…..

  8. LP

    Although we are well aware of the animal abuse that too often occurs here in Canada, we have never thankfully, witnessed any. Our Mama would probably get very angry and throw herself at the perpetrator and end up in big trouble if she ever did witness animal abuse!

    the critters in the cottage xo

  9. Georgia and Julie

    Very good post.
    Mom has not seen animal abuse and hopes she never does.
    It would be hard to ignore.
    Our province has new laws regarding animal welfare.
    People still need to be vigilant though.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

  10. Kari

    Interesting what the law is in Switzerland, and something to think about. With “minor” mistreatment, like seeing a dog chained up, or an owner using aversive training techniques, I simply cringe. It would help to know what constitutes abuse under the law so I’d know when I have a right/responsibility to speak up.

  11. Cathy Keisha

    When TW was young, she’d often here a dog tied in a yard howling day and night and she wanted to call the police but in this country they really don’t do much except a slap on the wrist. That’s what the monster who stuck a cat in a microwave got.

  12. FiveSibesMom

    Excellent post…I echo the sentiments of those above…I can not understand how anyone could be cruel to animals…and I, too, wish we had much stronger laws everywhere protecting animals. My wish is one day – and I wish it were soon – there will be.

  13. Amy

    It’s so important to speak up when witnessing violence. Our city just passed a law against tethering (tying out) dogs – yay! The law you describe sounds very wise, especially in putting procedures in place to verify mistreatment. There was a case in the US recently where a family was defamed on social media – someone took misleading photos of their dogs in their yard and publicly accused them of abuse. The authorities investigated and found the accusations completely false; in fact the dogs were very well cared for and had been rescued. Unfortunately you can’t always trust a photo.

  14. Timmy Tomcat

    Wish we had some stronger laws here in the US. Many times each of our states has different laws which let too many get away with too much. With freedom comes responsibility and too many don’t have a whit of sense.
    Very good post

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