animal abuse statistics

Animal Abuse Statistics

  The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) investigated 130,700 complaints about animal suffering in 2020. “Every year, more than 10 million animals die from abuse in the US alone.” (Petpedia)

   A 2009 study of 43,093 interviews found that the lifetime prevalence of animal cruelty in U.S. adults was 1.8%. (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

  The study also found that “men, African-Americans, Native-Americans/Asians, native-born Americans, persons with lower levels of income and education and adults living the western region of the U.S. reported comparatively high levels of cruelty to animals, whereas Hispanics reported comparatively low levels of such behavior.” (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

  The study also found  associations between animal cruelty and assessed antiscoial behaviors, lifetime alcohol use disorders, conduct disorder, antisocial, obsessive-compulsive, and histrionic personality disorders, pathological gambling, and family history of antisocial behavior. (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

  In children, animal cruelty is more common in boys and children with antisocial personality traits. Animal cruelty is more common in children with anti-social personality traits (Gleyzer, Felthous and Holzer 2002). These traits occur more often in boys. Luk et al. (1999) reported that 85% of animal abusing children who were referred to a community mental health center for behavior problems were boys (g =–0.35). However, girls with conduct disorders have higher rates of animal cruelty than normal boys (Ascione 2001).” (ResearchGate)

  “Among adults charged with animal cruelty, men vastly outnumber women across most types of abuse.” “Some researchers studying non-clinical samples have found large gender differences in animal cruelty. In a longitudinal study of animal cruelty and fire setting in a non-clinical sample of boys and girls, Becker et al. (2004) reported a 4 to 1 male/female ratio among animal abusers. Retrospective studies of recollections of college students have reported similar findings.” (ResearchGate)

  A survey of 261 inmates revealed that animal abuse in rural areas was more frequently targeted towards cats, while animal abuse in urban areas tended towards dogs, cats, and wild animals. “Thus, rural respondents who reported hurting or killing animals more frequently abused mostly cats. However, in the model for urban respondents, hurting or killing dogs, cats, and wild animals were all statistically salient variables affecting the number of times respondents hurt or killed animals” (Sage Journals)

  A study of school massacre perpetrators found that 43% of perpetrators were reported to have committed acts of animal cruelty. “This study investigates the quantity and quality of cruelty present in a sample of 23 perpetrators of school massacres from 1988 to 2012. Findings indicate that 43% of the perpetrators commit animal cruelty before schoolyard massacres and that the cruelty is usually directed against anthropomorphized species (dogs and cats) in an up-close manner.” (ResearchGate)

  Almost three quarters of participants in a survey of abused women reported abuse towards their animals as well. “Thirty-eight women seeking shelter at a safe house for battered partners voluntarily completed surveys about pet ownership and violence to pets of the women reporting current or past pet ownership, 71% reported that their partner had threatened and/or actually hurt or killed one or more of their pets.” (Taylor & Francis Online)

  “A dozen studies reported that between 15 and 48 percent of battered women delay leaving abusive situations—or return to them—because they fear for the safety of their pets.” (Tufts Now)

  “Women residing at domestic violence shelters (S group) were nearly 11 times more likely to report that their partner had hurt or killed pets than a comparison group of women who said they had not experienced intimate violence (NS group).” (Safe Pet Ottawa)

  “Different reports state that around 1 million animals are abused each year because of domestic violence, 32% of which are committed by children.” (Fabiosa)

  “In 1983, in the International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, DeViney et al. described a survey of pet owning families in the US with substantiated child abuse and neglect [56]. The authors found that animals were abused in 88 percent of homes in which children had been physically abused.” (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

  Studies on bestiality indicate incididence rate of 2.4 to 8% of males and 1.1 to 3.6% of women have had sexual contact with animals. “Bestiality is among the least studied forms of animal abuse. The few empirical studies of bestiality indicate that that sexual contact with animals is more common in men than women (see Miletski 2002 and Beetz and Podberscek 2005 for critical reviews). In their well-known studies of the sexual behavior of American men, Kinsey and his colleagues reported that 8% of males and 3.6% of post-pubescent women had sexual contact with animals (Kinsey, Pomeroy and Martin 1948; Kinsey et al. 1953). Hunt (1974), in a study of the sexual behavior of a representative sample of 982 men and 1044 women, found lower frequencies of sexual contact with animals than did Kinsey (4.9% of men and 1.9% of women). Flynn (1999) reported that 2.4% of male and 1.1% of female college students he surveyed acknowledged sexual contact with animals” (ResearchGate)

  “It is likely that up to a quarter million animals – 250,000 per year – are victims of hoarders. Recently, the number of reported hoarding cases has steadily increased.” (Animal Legal Defense Fund)

  In a study on animal hoarding, over three quarters of cases involved women. “The Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium reviewed the case records of 71 incidents from across the United States and Canada to determine what characterizes a typical animal hoarding case (5). Of the cases reviewed, 83% involved women (71% involved individuals, who were widowed, divorced, or single); 53% of the animal hoarding residences were home to other individuals including children (5%), elderly dependents and disabled people (21%). Often essential utilities and major appliances such as showers, heaters, stoves, toilets, and sinks were not functional. Residential home interiors were usually unsanitary, 93%; 70% had fire hazards; and 16% of residences involved in animal hoarding were subsequently condemned as unfit for human habitation. In 25% of the cases, the hoarder was placed under permanent or temporary protective care (3).” (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

  Animal hoarding has a rate of relapse of over 50%. “Simply removing the animals from the residence may not solve the problem; the person still has the ability and perhaps the need to find more animals as the rate of relapse is at least 50% (10,11).” (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

  About 75% of grassroots activists are women. “Virtually all studies of the animal rights movement have noted that women outnumber men among rank and file activists. Table 3 summarizes the proportions of women in nine of these reports. [Note that Galvin and Herzog (1992), Jamison and Lunch (1992), and Plous (1991) are based on the same event—the 1990 March for the Animals. Data reported by Galvin and Herzog (1998) and Plous (1998) were also gathered at the same demonstration—the 1996 March for the Animals.] These studies indicate that about 75% of grass roots activists are women. With a sex ratio of three to one, the effect size of gender differences in active involvement in animal rights is large. While women have made up the bulk of animal activists since the mid-19th century, historically, men have predominated among the political and philosophical leaders of this movement. Women made up 78% of subscribers to The Animal Agenda, animal rights magazine in the United States (Richards and Krannich 1991). However, 60% of authors of books reviewed in the magazine were men, as were 60% of the magazine’s profiles of prominent activists (Herzog 1999). The predominance of men among movement leaders has decreased in recent years. Munro (2001) reported that about half of the animal protection organizations he studied were led by women. Herzog (1999) found that in the United States, gender parity varied with the goals of the organization. Groups having an animal rights focus were more likely to have women in prominent leadership positions than organizations with an animal welfare or animal shelter orientation.” (ResearchGate)

  “To ensure a constant supply of new racers, more than 25,000 dogs are bred each year in the United States. Some unwanted greyhounds are rescued by adoption organizations, but there are simply not enough homes for them all. At least 5,000 former racing greyhounds are killed each year.” (Animal Rights Foundation of Florida)

  “Many racing dogs suffer injuries while racing; according to state records, a racing greyhound dies every three days on a Florida track.” (The Humane Society of the United States)

  “Over the past decade, there have been 438 greyhound drug positives at Florida tracks, including 73 greyhound cocaine positives.  Other drug positives include novocaine, lidocaine, industrial solvent DMSO, and opiates oxycodone and oxymorphone.” (The Humane Society of the United States)

  “Female greyhounds are routinely given an anabolic steroid to prevent a loss of race days. In 2017 legislative testimony, the Florida Greyhound Association estimated that 50 percent of female dogs are given this drug.” (The Humane Society of the United States)

  “With South Dakota joining the fight in March of 2014, animal cruelty laws now include felony provisions in all 50 states.” (The Humane Society of the United States)  

  “The Best And Worst States For Animal Protection Laws” Top 5: Maine Illinois Oregon Colorado Rhode Island   Bottom 5: Alabama Mississippi Idaho Wyoming New Mexico (Animal Legal Defense Fund)

  “A study published by the U.K.’s Royal Society of Biology found that at least 75 percent of pet snakes, lizards, tortoises, and turtles die within one year in a human home—and it’s believed that most of these newly acquired animals die from stress related to captivity.” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

  “How many times smaller the average zoo enclosure is compared with animals’ natural roaming range: Polar bear: 1,000,000 Meerkat: 333,000 Cheetah: 63,000 Black bear: 25,000 Lynx: 21,000 Tiger: 18,000 Lion: 17,000 Brown bear: 300” (The Guardian) (Nature)

  The FBI collects 8,497 law enforcement agencies, whose jurisdictions covered more than 146.5 million U.S. inhabitants. 9956 incidents of animal cruelty were reported by these agencies to the FBI in 2019. (Federal Bureau of Investigation)


  From the 2019 animal cruelty incidents reported to the FBI, 6,898 occurred in a residence/home, 834 on a street, 664 in a parking location, 292 in a field or woods. (Federal Bureau of Investigation)

  From the 2019 animal cruelty incidents reported to the FBI, animal cruelty occurs mosts frequently around noon.

Time of Day

Total 9,956
Total A.M. Hours 3,604
Midnight–12:59 a.m. 489
1 a.m.–1:59 a.m. 68
2 a.m.–2:59 a.m. 66
3 a.m.–3:59 a.m. 50
4 a.m.–4:59 a.m. 40
5 a.m.–5:59 a.m. 42
6 a.m.–6:59 a.m. 88
7 a.m.–7:59 a.m. 239
8 a.m.–8:59 a.m. 489
9 a.m.–9:59 a.m. 565
10 a.m.–10:59 a.m. 718
11 a.m.–11:59 a.m. 750
Total P.M. Hours 6,158
Noon–12:59 p.m. 894
1 p.m.–1:59 p.m. 772
2 p.m.–2:59 p.m. 788
3 p.m.–3:59 p.m. 793
4 p.m.–4:59 p.m. 703
5 p.m.–5:59 p.m. 592
6 p.m.–6:59 p.m. 470
7 p.m.–7:59 p.m. 380
8 p.m.–8:59 p.m. 274
9 p.m.–9:59 p.m. 216
10 p.m.–10:59 p.m. 148
11 p.m.–11:59 p.m. 128
Unknown Time 194
(Federal Bureau of Investigation)

  Delaware has the highest reported rate of animal cruelty cases. 
State Cases Population Covered
Total 9,956 146,562,042
Alabama 2 85,670
Arizona 43 588,483
Arkansas 6 2,813,597
Colorado 755 5,705,335
Connecticut 131 3,318,976
Delaware 1,294 973,764
District of Columbia 0 N/A
Georgia 260 5,055,022
Hawaii 51 974,902
Idaho 34 1,782,402
Illinois 0 145,719
Indiana 311 2,544,537
Iowa 0 3,135,918
Kansas 0 2,485,243
Kentucky 266 4,460,061
Louisiana 0 817,563
Maine 8 512,603
Maryland 8 1,733,463
Massachusetts 89 6,673,102
Michigan 520 9,968,870
Minnesota 272 1,989,925
Mississippi 193 774,784
Missouri 68 1,888,808
Montana 104 1,055,460
Nebraska 6 1,013,977
Nevada 1 471,700
New Hampshire 191 1,313,554
New Mexico 32 767,385
North Carolina 420 8,740,258
North Dakota 100 762,062
Ohio 164 9,458,339
Oklahoma 74 2,703,949
Oregon 446 4,056,079
Pennsylvania 0 197,330
Rhode Island 23 1,058,329
South Carolina 321 5,081,688
South Dakota 33 848,738
Tennessee 473 6,829,174
Texas 1,394 18,730,644
Utah 6 2,590,905
Vermont 39 623,989
Virginia 1,372 8,533,624
Washington 188 7,587,677
West Virginia 11 1,574,978
Wisconsin 237 4,089,578
Wyoming 10 43,878
(Federal Bureau of Investigation)  



Petpedia National Center for Biotechnology Information National Center for Biotechnology Information National Center for Biotechnology Information ResearchGate ResearchGate Sage Journals ResearchGate Taylor & Francis Online Tufts Now Safe Pet Ottawa Fabiosa National Center for Biotechnology Information ResearchGate Animal Legal Defense Fund National Center for Biotechnology Information National Center for Biotechnology Information ResearchGate Animal Rights Foundation of Florida The Humane Society of the United States The Humane Society of the United States The Humane Society of the United States The Humane Society of the United States Animal Legal Defense Fund People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals The Guardian Nature Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation Federal Bureau of Investigation