By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A custody battle over Obie the overweight dachshund made news recently, but most people don’t know: what is the definition of animal cruelty?

The city of Rome has banned the use of round goldfish bowls, claiming that they are cruel and can make the fish go blind. Not sure what the research on that is – I can’t even get my goldfish to read the fourth row of the eye chart.

In addition to fighting the menace of the goldfish bowl, Rome has been far more proactive in its animal rights legislation than the US, including passage of a bill that sets fines of up to $500 per day for dog owners who don’t walk their dogs three times a day.

Animal cruelty laws in the US are governed by state law, but in general the laws prevent pet owners from killing their pets, starving them (there’s no law against overfeeding or over publicizing them) or causing them to fight with other animals for the owners’ fun or profit, and prevent cruelty, torture, injurious mistreatment or neglect. In addition, most localities prevent nuisances like animal hording.

Every municipality has shelters for animals that are unloved. Since you weren’t blinded in a goldfish bowl accident, you can look in the yellow pages to find the number of a shelter or rescue that can find a loving home for a pet who surely deserves one.