By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – According to the Humane Society of the United States, animal abuse and cruelty can either be deliberate by perpetrating the action or by neglect, by failing to care for an animal in need. And whether that animal is a pet, a stray or wildlife, it IS cruelty.

The ASPCA states that animal cruelty occurs when someone intentionally injures or harms an animal or when a person willfully deprives an animal of food, water or necessary medical care. Some of the signs to watch for various types of abuse and neglect are such as these: observing a thin or starving animal, flea and tick infestation, a wounded or limping animal, dogs who are chained and deprived of food, water and shelter or are isolated for extremely long periods of time without necessities, animals left outside in extreme weather conditions, or someone striking or harming an animal in any way.

Animal cruelty is a crime. Every state now has protection for dogs and cats regarding animal cruelty laws and a majority of states regard abuse as felonies and rightfully so.

If you, in some way, witness or suspect any type of animal abuse, neglect or cruelty of any kind, the Humane Society (HSUS) advises that you document the date, time and location of the incident. Make note of the type of animal involved.

Also, if possible, use of any type of video or a picture can be helpful, even from your cell phone. Immediately contact the authorities or an animal protection agency such as the Philadelphia SPCA at their animal cruelty hotline at 1-866-601-SPCA at 215 426-6300. The most important thing you can do is to report the cruelty immediately.

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