Step 3: Understanding the Law

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Anti-cruelty laws vary from state to state, and sometimes from city to city or county to county. The legal definitions of abuse, neglect or appropriate conditions may differ. The penalties for animal abuse may also differ.

Fortunately, society has begun to recognize animal abuse as part of the cycle of violence and is calling for stronger penalties against abusers and more powerful enforcement capabilities. As a result, many states have added felony penalties to their anti-cruelty laws.

If you have questions about how the case will progress through your legal system, talk to the investigating officer or read the laws yourself.

Understand that once you have reported potential animal abuse or neglect, the investigating officer may not be able to discuss the specifics of the case with you. But that does not mean he’s not working on it.

You’ve done the right thing and have saved an animal from cruelty and abuse. Now, learn how to prevent further animal abuse in Step 4.

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