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Acts of violence or neglect perpetrated against animals are considered animal cruelty. Animal cruelty laws vary by state, and violations may constitute a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the jurisdiction. Many animal cruelty laws specifically exclude accepted animal husbandry practices involving farm animals, animals used in research, and lawful hunting and trapping of wildlife. Some states have training and reporting programs for social workers who suspect animal abuse during the course of their work in domestic violence and child abuse and some states provide immunity to veterinarians who report suspected abuse.
Generally, animal cruelty can be divided into two categories: neglect and intentional cruelty. Examples of intentional cruelty include, among others, overt abuse, when an individual purposely inflicts physical harm or injury on an animal, dog fighting and cock fighting. Acts of neglect include companion animals being neglected or denied basic necessities of care, such as food, water, shelter, or veterinary care.
The following is an example of a state statute dealing with cruelty
"A) No person shall:
Animals used for fighting purposes are subject to state laws, which vary by state. For example, the following is an example of a state law that allows confisction of dogs used for fighting purposes. Local laws should be consulted for specific requirements in your area:
"(16) An animal that has been used to fight in violation of this section or that is involved in a violation of subsections (8) to (14) shall be confiscated as contraband by a law enforcement officer and shall not be returned to the owner, trainer, or possessor of the animal. The animal shall be taken to a local humane society or other animal welfare agency. If an animal owner, trainer, or possessor is convicted under subsection (2) or subsections (8) to (14), the court shall award the animal involved in the violation to the local humane society or other animal welfare agency "