Common Human Medications and Pet Safety

Keeping the holidays safe for our pets – Common Human Medications and Pet Safety


The holiday season brings images of presents, Santa, beautiful decorations, parties and festivities. Yet it is also the season for colds, viral and bacterial infections, and the “flu”.  Often the first option is taking over-the-counter medicine for symptom relief. While we are aware of the typical holiday hazards for our pets and have taken extra precaution to keep our pets safe, often we not aware of the hazards for our pets due to OTC and prescription drugs. The Pet Poison Helpline states that “Nearly 50% of all calls received by Pet Poison Helpline involve human medications – both over-the-counter and prescription”.

Some of the common human medications that receive the most calls at the Animal Poison Control Center and the Pet Poison Helpline:

  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory bills) A few common ones are ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).  This group tops the list and can cause serious stomach and intestinal ulcers and possible kidney failure in cats, dogs, birds and other small mammals.
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a popular pain medication and though it is safe for humans, even children, it is very harmful to pets.
  • Antidepressants such as Efexor, Cymbalta, Prozac, Lexapro.
  • Benzodiazepines and sleep aids such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ambien, and Lunesta.
  • Cholesterol medicines such as Lipitor, Zocor, or Crestor.
  • Decongestants such as Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine

A few tips for reducing the risk of your pet accidentally ingesting human medicines:

Many “cold and flu” products are a combination of NSAIDs and decongestants. It is important to check labels for the ingredient listing. It is also important to keep the package so you have the ingredient list available in case of an emergency.

If you carry cough drops, gum, or medicines in your purse make sure it is out of your pet’s reach. Holiday entertaining and additional guests in your home increase the likelihood that your pet could snoop in a purse and find harmful pills. Ask your guests to “guard” their purses and explain the reason why.

Never leave your pills anywhere a pet can reach them. Some dogs can chew through a pill bottle or a 7-day pill box to get to the “treat”.

Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your pet ingested any medicine that wasn’t prescribed to them.

For more information and a complete listing hazardous human medications see the following:




English Cocker Spaniel dog and cat lie together. looking at cameAre you getting a new pet?  Have you considered adopting an older dog or cat? I know – who can resist the antics of a rambunctious kitten or puppy? They’re fun and adorable – they bring out maternal and paternal instincts in us. They’re so cute and cuddly. They’re so much fun to play with. We imagine the fun we’ll have with them as they grow and become our best friends. Stop though and consider a few things:

Puppies & kittens can be “destructive” as they go through the baby and adolescent stages of development.  Puppies chew on everything in sight – slippers, table legs; kittens can shred furniture and carpeting. They love to dig in plants or overturn your potted plants.  You definitely need to “puppy or kitten” proof your home before getting one.

Puppies & kittens have lots of energy. They require a lot of time and energy to cleaning up after them, keeping them safe and to helping them to use up their excess energy constructively.

Still unsure?  Here are a few more considerations:

  • Puppies and kittens change as they age so you don’t always know what they’ll look like when they’re full grown. With an older dog or cat you know their size and physical characteristics. You have a better idea of their temperament and health.
  • Older pets make great companions especially for older people or less active people who perhaps do not have the energy to keep up with an active kitten or puppy.
  • Older pets do not require as much supervision so they can left along for longer periods of time making them excellent pets of choice for a busy person.
  • Older pets are trainable and some studies indicate that older pets have a longer attention span and benefit from training more than younger pets.
  • Adopt a pet – save a life!  This is especially true when you adopt an older pet. Senior shelter pets have very poor odds of being adopted.  Older pets seem to recognize that you giving them a second chance and often show their appreciation by forming an instant and close bond with their new owners.

Adopt a senior pet – you truly are saving a life!

Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog. ~ Sydney Jeanne Seward

More information:


Holiday Pet Safety

THE HOLIDAYSthe most wonderful time of the year! It’s the season that entices us with aromas and fragrances and tantalizes our taste buds. It is a time for joy, happiness and merriment. For our pets, though, there are some potential hazards to their health and safety. It is challenging to keep our furry family members safe during the holiday season.


Deck the Halls with boughs of holly – we enjoy making our homes festive by using fresh greens and flowering plants. Unfortunately many of the more popular holiday plants such as poinsettias, mistletoe, holly and amaryllis are either irritating or toxic to cats and dogs. A safer holiday plant is the Christmas cactus which is non toxic to cats and dogs.

And, of course, we can’t forget the traditional Christmas tree:
O Christmas Tree…..How lovely are your branches……. Yes, lovely to look at but pine needles are mildly toxic and can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach. They are not easily digested and can cause GI problems and vomiting. More toxic, however, is the standing water in the tree stand. It contains fertilizers and probably harbors mold and bacteria – a few sips can cause your pet to become extremely sick. Keep the tree stand covered so your pets can’t drink the tree water.

Remember that eating or ingesting any plant material can cause vomiting and other reactions in your pets even if it not considered toxic.


  • Tinsel is so pretty at night when the lights are turned on but if ingested by pets can cause blockages in their intestinal tract. Tinsel, lights and breakable ornaments should not be placed on the lower branches of Christmas trees.
  • Burning candles are beautiful and add ambiance to our holiday atmosphere but should be placed well out of reach of pets such as on a high shelf or mantel. Instead of real candles consider using reusable flameless candles.
  • Snow globes and bubble lights may contain poison chemicals such as antifreeze.
  • Wrapping items such as string, ribbon, yarn can cause serious problems if swallowed by pets.


For many people, chocolate is an important “food” for the holidays. It is, however, toxic to dogs and cats. Grapes and raisins, and currants can result in kidney failure in dogs. The artificial sweetener, xylitol, is present in some gums, breath mints, candy, and other human food and is very toxic to dogs. Turkey and turkey skin, and table scraps can be especially difficult for pets to digest and may cause pancreatitis.

It is important to put food preparation items and leftover food away immediately – dogs have a keen sense of smell; the smells coming from leftovers and the trash can are tempting to our pets. Foil, plastic wrap, bags can cause choking or intestinal obstruction if ingested by our pets. Turkey carcasses make excellent soup broth but the bones can splinter and puncture their digestive tract.

Keep the holidays safe for your furry family and friends by being careful of potential problems and hazards.

Wishing you a joyful and safe holiday season!

Two excellent resources:


Survey: Pet Owners and the Human-Animal Bond

Survey: Pet Owners and the Human-Animal Bond


The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HARBI) supports scientific research to prove what many of us believe to be true – humans and pets share a special, mutually beneficial connection or bond.

So why is this new study news worthy – it is the first survey of its kind to explore the connection for pet owners’ knowledge about the health benefits of the human-animal bond impacts pet care and welfare. The results of this survey released by The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) shows that knowledge that pets improve our health boosts animal welfare.

The study is available at

A summary of a few findings are:

The majority of pet owners are aware of the health benefits of pets. They also have personally experienced those benefits.

The more pet owners learn about scientific research on the benefits of the human-animal bond, the more likely they are to take actions to improve pet health.

“Scientific research shows that pets are good for our health, improving heart health, relieving stress and positively impacting conditions from autism to PTSD,” said HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman. “Now, for the first time, we have data to show that it’s a two-way street – when we know how good pets are for us, we are more likely to take better care of them!”

In many ways all of us share in the good news of this survey. As pet lovers we often share our personal stories about how much we love our pets and how much they’ve helped us. This sharing does make a difference.

Find out more about the work of HABRI –


Cool Treats For Your Dog

We’re halfway through the 2nd hottest month in Las Vegas with an average temperature of 103. Of course, July outshines August with an average temperature of 106. It’s still HOT and keeping our pets hydrated is still a challenge.

Here are a few ideas for adding some cool treats for your dog.

Watermelon TreatsWatermelon Dog Treats are very easy to make.

2 Cups seedless Watermelon
1 Cup Coconut Water*
Optional: you can add 1/4 cup honey or blackstrap molasses

Blend the ingredients together to make a liquid. Pour the liquid into some ice cube trays and freeze. Note: if you use the silicone bone or paw print molds you must use a cookie tray or something solid to be able to pour the liquid into the molds and then to place in the freezer. Otherwise, you’ll have a sticky mess on your counter, floor or freezer.

*Coconut water is naturally refreshing and contains easily digested carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Ice Cream Recipe

1 Cup ripe bananas
8 ounces yogurt
1/3 Cup peanut butter**

Blend ingredients together. Pour mixture into ice cube trays, plastic or paper cups, or freezer molds and place into freezer.

**Peanut butter – it is best to use unsalted and unsweetened AND check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol.  Xylitol is toxic to dogs.

These treats are safe for humans also. Personally I like the watermelon treats. I don’t like coconut water alone but combined with the watermelon it is tasty and refreshing.

The ingredients in these recipes are considered safe for dogs. Remember though that these are treats and need to be offered carefully. It is always best to add just one or two new items at a time in case your dog has an adverse reaction to them. If your dog has any medical condition please check with your veterinarian about offering these frozen treats to them.

Stay cool with these cool frozen treats!


Summer Safety Tips – Keeping our Pets Hydrated

Pet Hydration 1 (1)Good news! August is the halfway mark to the end of summer and cooler weather is coming! However, keeping our pets hydrated is still an important topic for pet parents.  

How much water do our pets need?

Did you know that your cat or dog is made up of 80% water? (Humans are made up of 65% water) This is why people and pets need water to properly maintain all body functions. Generally cats or dogs need approximately ½ to 1 ounce of water per pound daily depending on diet (canned food contains more water), age, activity level and time of year.

Generally if dogs are supplied with fresh clean water they will drink the amount their body requires.  Keeping cats hydrated is a little more challenging – they get most of their water intake from their food and dry food, for example, only contains about 10% moisture. They will need their food supplemented with extra drinking water.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Pets:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression

Also watch for sudden changes in behavior and in their drinking habits.  If you suspect dehydration perform a skin test: Gently grab a fold of skin on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades & release. If the skin snaps back into place, your pet should be okay. If the skin slowly returns to place, your pet could be dehydrated. Contact your vet if you suspect dehydration in your pet.


Stay Cool and Hydrated this summer!


Exciting news from the U.S. Postal Service

Exciting news from the U.S. Postal Service – issue date for the Pets Forever stamps is August 2.

To mark the first day of the program the USPS is holding an event on August 2 at the World Pet Association’s Superzoo convention in Las Vegas.

This series celebrates the animals in our lives that bring joy, companionship, and love.

Postage stampsThe stamp art for this series features 20 photographs by Eric Isselée. Included are: puppies, betta fish, iguanas, hamsters, goldfish, parrots, guinea pigs, tortoises, rabbits, kittens, corn snakes, mice, hermit crabs, chinchillas, gerbils, dogs, parakeets, horses, cats and geckos. Art director Derry Noyes designed the stamps and was inspired by her lifelong love of animals.

Responsible pet ownership is part of this program – for more information about this series:




Water Intoxication

Dog - Sprayed by HoseWater – what if a dog ingests too much water?

Summers in Las Vegas are HOT! Keeping ourselves and our dogs hydrated in our area is a huge challenge. Drinking an ample amount of water is essential. However, recently we became aware of a condition called “water toxicity” and that it is possible for a dog to ingest more water than they can eliminate. This can cause hyponatremia, a condition where sodium levels drop dangerously low and upset the electrolyte balance. When this happens the body’s water levels rise and cells absorb the excess fluid and swell. This affects all vital organs, brain cells and even the central nervous system.

The good news is that water toxicity in dogs is relatively rare and doesn’t happen often but the bad news is that it develops quickly and is can be life threatening. All dogs are at risk but there are some groups that are more at risk:

Water-loving dogs: It is  most often seen in water-loving canines who would stay in the lake, pond or pool all day if you let them; pets that lap or bite at the water continuously while playing in it; and dogs that swallow water unintentionally as they dive for a ball or other toy.

Dogs with little body fat: muscular dogs with less body fat do not have the extra fat tissue to help absorb the excess fluid and it is absorbed by the body leading to water toxicity.

Dogs with high energy:  They are highly focused and will keep jumping, diving, retrieving the ball or stick until their parents stop them.

Small dogs and puppies: It takes less time for water to accumulate in their bodies they tend to show symptoms quickly.

Awareness – It is important to be aware that water toxicity is a potential danger to your dog. Know the symptoms and if your dog has been in or around water and exhibits some of the symptoms it is important to seek veterinarian care immediately. Treatment usually includes IV delivery of electrolytes, diuretics and drugs to reduce brain swelling.

Symptoms: Lethargy, lack of coordination, bloating; glazed eyes, vomiting, pale gums, nausea, dilated pupils, excessive drooling and more advanced symptoms such as difficulty breathing, collapsing, loss of consciousness, and seizures.

A few ideas to help prevent over hydration:

  • Supervise your pet whenever they are in or near water. Be especially careful on days when the water is rough.
  • Take frequent breaks and give them an opportunity to pee to get rid of extra water in the body.
  • Watch your dog closely when they are in a body of water and if their mouth is open a lot they are probably ingesting water.
  • If your dog likes to play in or drink from the hose or sprinkler direct the hose at their body instead of directly into their mouth. Since water from a hose is under pressure they can ingest a great deal of water in a short period of time.

Summer fun and water safety go hand-in-hand. Be aware of both challenges – making sure your pets are hydrated and protecting them from over hydration. Stay cool, have fun AND please stay safe!

For more information:

Banfield Pet Hospital® study highlights 10-year trends for common diseases.

In April Banfield Pet Hospital ® released a comprehensive pet health report comprised of medical data from 2.5 million dogs and nearly 500,000 cats. The State of Pet Health® 2016 Report, analyzes data from 3 million total pets cared for in 2015 in Banfield’s 925 hospitals spanning 43 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

This report was created to help educate pet owners and raise profession-wide awareness for some of the most common and important diagnoses affecting the health of pets in the United States.

Findings pertaining to Nevada:

Diabetes mellitus: Nevada is listed as one of the five states showing the greatest prevalence of diabetes in dogs in 2015. The report suggests that diabetes is rising in pets. Canine diabetes has increased by 79.9 percent since 2006, while the prevalence of diabetes in cats has increased by 18.1 percent over the same time frame. Modifications to the diet can play a major role in the treatment and management of this disease.

Heartworm disease: This is a very serious yet preventable condition affecting pets and can be fatal. It is transmitted by mosquitoes and can cause permanent damage to the lungs and heart before a pet shows any symptoms. Nevada is the state with the lowest prevalence of heartworm disease.

Dental disease: One of the most common disorders among cats and dogs affecting 68 percent of cats and 76 percent of dogs under the age of three. It increases to 88 percent of cats and 93 percent of dogs over the age of three. Nevada was listed as one of the states with the greatest prevalence of dental disease in both cats and dogs.

Other diseases and categories discussed were Otitis externa (ear infection), fleas and ticks, and Internal parasites,

For more information about this interesting and informative study:

For the full State of Pet Health 2016 Report, please visit


Let’s Go Swimming!

Swimming with ballLet’s Go Swimming!

In the heat of summer, it can be difficult to find outdoor activities to share with our pets. It may be too hot for walking or hiking, but summer is the PERFECT time to enjoy a cool and refreshing swim with your dog.  A cool dip in a pool, lake or stream is the ideal remedy for a hot summer day.

If your dog has never been swimming before, it is important to remember that not all dogs know how to swim.  It is not an intuitive skill that all dogs possess.  While some dogs pick it up quite quickly, others may need a fair amount of help in the beginning.  With your assistance and a few helpful tips, you and your dog can be enjoying the cool, invigorating fun of swimming together.

For dogs that have never tried swimming, it is important that you introduce them to the water slowly and gently.  They will remember their first attempt as either being great fun or very scary.  With that in mind, you should never throw or force your dog into the water.  Instead, try coaxing him in with praise or even a doggie treat.  Let him feel the water on his feet and experience the cool, wet sensation.

For swimming pools, the steps are the place to start.  It is important that your dog learns that the steps are ALWAYS the place to enter or exit the pool.  Placing a vertical marker (like a flag or a potted plant) next to the steps will help him find them when he’s in the water.  Each time you enter or exit the pool, say “steps” and have him touch the marker you have set up.  He will soon associate the marker with the place to get in and out of the pool.

Coaxing your dog onto the first step of the pool can be a major accomplishment for some dogs.  Once you have achieved that, it’s time for swimming!  To help your dog swim, place your hands on his sides, holding him in the water so his rear end is up and his body is parallel with the top of the water.  As you move through the water together, he should look like he’s running in the water.  Some dogs will try to swim using only their front legs instead of using all four.  You may need to help move his rear legs for him while he’s first learning.  As his skills improve, take him a very short distance from the steps and help him swim to them.  Gradually increase the distance he needs to swim to the steps, keeping your lesson times to about 10 minutes. After each successful swim, remember to give him LOTS of hugs and praise.

Swimming - PugIf your dog seems to be having a lot of difficulty staying afloat on his own, the aid of a canine life vest can be very helpful.  The extra buoyancy that it provides may be just enough to keep him afloat and build his confidence.

As your dog’s swimming skills improve, it is still important to limit your swim time to about an hour and a half.  No matter how MUCH fun you’re having, don’t overdo it.  Taking frequent breaks for a drink of fresh water and a rest in the shade will be beneficial to you both.

Before and after swimming, your dog will require many of the same precautions we take for fun in the sun.  Dogs can get sunburned too.  The skin around their nose, eyes, and ears are the most susceptible to sunburn.   You may want to ask your veterinarian to recommend a sunscreen for those sensitive areas. After swimming, it is always a good idea to give him a thorough rinse off or even a quick bath with shampoo. After a good rinse, be sure to dry the inside and outside of his ears.

With a little practice and patience, you and your dog will be swimming together and enjoying all the fun that swimming provides.

Have fun, be safe, and stay COOL!  



Volunteers – Appreciated! Volunteers – Needed!

Thank you VolunteersNational Volunteer Week – April 10 -16: A week set aside to celebrate volunteerism. It is the perfect time to say Thank you and the perfect time to encourage others to become volunteers.

Volunteers truly make a difference.
Volunteers are the foundation for success for most small non profit organizations. For animal welfare groups, animal shelters/rescues having a core group of dedicated volunteers is essential for them to accomplish their mission and goals.

Many of our local rescue groups operate totally with volunteer staff. They are always looking for help in so many areas.

We encourage you to consider volunteering as a very important way to give to the local pet community.

A few helpful suggestions to get you started:
1. Do an interest survey – What are some of your interests or skills that you have or that you would like to develop? Sometimes people are exploring a new area of interest totally unrelated to their current or past employment. List all of your interests and activities you like to do. Photography, event planning, social media are only a few ideas.
2. Look at your schedule and block out available times – some people have an hour or two a week that could be available for volunteer work. Other people might have one weekend a month available. For others it could be seasonal. It is important to be realistic in planning for volunteer work.
3. Explore some of the local shelters or rescues. You can check out their websites or social media sites. Pet adoption events or other pet events are great opportunities to meet staff or other volunteers from the many resues.
4. Select a few rescues that you think would be a good fit for you. Take the initiative to meet with the person responsible for volunteers in those rescues. This will help determine if your interests, skills and schedule match what they are looking for in a volunteer.

Volunteering is very important – there are so many ways to offer your time and talents – take the necessary steps today to become a valued volunteer!

Service is the rent we pay for being. It is the very purpose of life, and not something you do in your spare time. Marian Wright Edelman


National Pet Poison Week – Sunday, March 20 – 26, 2016

In early March of this year the ASPCA®’s Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) released its findings that over-the-counter medications and supplements made the top spot on the list of toxins most commonly ingested by pets in 2015. Prescriptions for human medications fell to the second spot.

The Top Ten list of Toxins of 2015 are:
1 – Over-the-counter medications and supplements
2 – Prescriptions for human medications
3 – Insecticides
4 – Human foods
5 – Household Items
6 – Veterinary medications
7 – Chocolate
8 – Plants – both indoor and outdoor
9 – Rodenticides (Poisons for mice and rats)
10 -Lawn and Garden Products

*For more information about the 2015 findings from the ASPCA (APCC)

It is important to poison-proof your home and educate yourself on items that are toxic to pets. As evidenced by the 2015 results all medications need to be kept out-of-reach for your pets. Also, there is an increase in calls in the spring and summer months due to increased outdoor activities and exposure to outside plants, herbicides, fertilizers, and pesticides.

National Pet Poison Week is a great time to find out more about the potential poisons and toxins your pet might be exposed – let’s keep our pets safe!




Easter, Rabbits & Small Children Are Not A Good Match

Look at that cute bunny! Your child would love that cuddly and furry real live bunny – you think it would make a wonderful addition to their Easter basket. STOP… carefully proceed with caution:  Young children like to snuggle, cuddle and carry their pets – this frightens and scares most rabbits. Unfortunately many children are scratched or bitten accidentally by a scared rabbit – the excitement of the bunny turns into a painful experience for your child. Rabbits are fragile and many are seriously hurt when they are accidentally dropped by children. A better choice is to buy your child a toy rabbit for cuddling and snuggling this Easter.

Rabbits are small pets yet they have huge requirements. Many uninformed new bunny owners when faced with the realities of how much care a rabbit requires decide to “return” the gift. They take their child’s Easter Gift to a shelter or perhaps worse, they release it outdoors to fend for itself.

The following two articles will give you a general idea of what having a rabbit as a pet entails.  If you decide that a pet rabbit is the best choice for you and your family, please consider adoption. There are so many pet rabbits whose owners did not do their homework and who made the decision to surrender them.



Pet Rabbits – Is One Right For Your Home?

Rabbit with CarrotBy Johna Mennone
LV-HRS Educator and Volunteer

Known for being irresistibly cute, rabbits have become the 3rd most popular pet in the United States. Although these charming and personable animals can be very tempting, their unique needs and behaviors aren’t suited for every home. So before rushing into that 10-year plus commitment, here are some things to take into consideration.

Bunny Housing
Though many believe a rabbit can live outside in a hutch or tucked away in a small cage, bunnies need space and a safe indoor environment to be at their happiest and healthiest. These sociable and highly communicative animals thrive on interaction, and should be kept in the house as part of the family.

Perhaps of even greater importance are the dangers of the outdoors. From hawks, to heat, flies to fear, all pose risks to the health and life of a bunny. Indoor housing is such a crucial aspect to a rabbits proper care, that reputable rescues will not adopt to those planning outdoor accommodations.

Countless rabbits are surrendered to shelters each year after the owner has discovered they are allergic to their bunny, or the food and bedding their bunny requires. If you have allergies to animals, or sensitivities to hay and grasses, you might want to take note. Consider testing your reaction by visiting the rabbits at your local shelter. It could save your nose and bunny from a lot of upset later on.

Providing for your bunny’s medical needs is an important aspect of their care, though finding a qualified veterinarian may prove difficult. Rabbits require an “exotics” vet, which are far less common and often more expensive. Given that bunnies have unique health concerns, which often need prompt attention, having a qualified vet within a reasonable distance is key. Before making the commitment, search for rabbit savvy veterinarians in your area, and ask yourself how far you are willing to travel and how much you’re able to afford.

Home Environment
Bunnies can make playful and affectionate pets, but it’s important to remember they are prey animals, sensitive to their surroundings. Given that they are quick to react to loud noises and sudden movement, they are more suitable to calm, quieter homes.

Children and additional pets are also a concern and great care has to be taken to keep your rabbit safe, both physically and mentally. A stressed rabbit is an unhappy and unhealthy rabbit. It’s important to keep in mind that even the most well behaved pet or child might chase a bun that runs, and even the most affectionate child can injure a bun unintentionally. So consider the environment you’d be introducing a bunny to and make their safety your priority.

Think Twice
Rabbits are the third most abandoned pet, filling shelters across the country. Sadly, most are surrendered because the owner wasn’t prepared for the level of care a rabbit requires. By doing your research beforehand, you can learn if a bunny is a good fit for you prior to making the commitment.

The Las Vegas House Rabbit Society is a non profit, all volunteer rabbit rescue organization supporting the community through education, spay/neuter programs and adoptions. To learn more about the LV-HRS, please visit


FBI Now Categorizes Animal Cruelty as a Group A Felony


In January 2016 they began tracking and collecting information about incidents of animal cruelty. This will improve the way crimes against animals are tracked nationally and could help strengthen state animal cruelty laws.

Another important aspect is developing the possible link between animal abuse/cruelty and violent crimes against people. There is evidence that many criminals abuse animals before they abuse people. Reporting, tracking and analyzing data can help police identify future violent criminals.

“With this information, law enforcement and victim services would be able to better target their intervention efforts with respect to both animal cruelty and those crimes for which animal cruelty serves as a marker,” said Dr. Mary Lou Randour of the Animal Welfare Institute, which worked closely with the National Sheriffs’ Association to advance their cause. “Identifying and analyzing animal cruelty crimes would provide an important tool for law enforcement.”

The National Sheriffs’ Association’s John Thompson urged people to shed the mindset that animal cruelty is a crime only against animals. “It’s a crime against society,” he said, urging all law enforcement agencies to participate in NIBRS. “By paying attention to [these crimes], we are benefiting all of society.”

The official definition of animal cruelty according to the FBI is:
Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured, transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping.