How to Recognize Signs of Animal Abuse. Animal abuse is a crime and should be reported to the local authorities. Familiarize yourself with your state's animal abuse laws so you know when it is appropriate to call for help. Animals are dependant upon concerned citizens who recognize the abuse to get them the help they need.
Observe the animals physical condition. Does he have a flea and tick infestation, open wounds, patches of missing hair or injuries causing limping? Does he appear too thin?
Pay attention to the animal's environment. Make sure there is adequate shelter available. Is the area kept clean of feces? Look for signs of chewed wood or shrubs, indicating that food has not been provided.
Look for food and water bowls. Are the bowls empty or turned upside down? If the bowls are empty check back several times over the next couple of days at different times of the day to see if the bowls remain empty or ever get re-filled.
Pinch the animal's skin if she will allow you to get close enough and you feel you can safely do this test. If she is suffering from dehydration the skin will take awhile to flatten back into place. Another sign of dehydration is a dry nose and visible signs of confusion or drowsiness.
Interact with the animal. Does he seem anxious or aggressive? An abused animal may also be skittish and frightened of you. If you raise your arm or leg does he cower or flinch?