Abuse is causing direct, intent harm. By law, abuse is mostly defined as malicious intent.
Neglect is failing to prevent harmful action or a lack of necessary care.
When reporting abuse or neglect, it is important to understand the differences. Often neglect is a result of ignorance rather than a malicious act against an animal. Neglect is not providing for an animal whereas abuse is purposefully withholding resources, physically and/or psychologically harming an animal.
If you are aware of an animal suffering from neglect, it is best to start with the owner of the animal and offer assistance to them directly. Remember, often neglect is a result of ignorance or lack of resource, not intent to harm. Building trust and coming from a place of compassion to help is more likely to result in change for the betterment of the animal. If the animal is in the Charlotte Mecklenburg area, you can request a member of our Outreach team to respond with assistance by emailing email@example.com. Please visit our Outreach Program page for a list of services offered.
If you suspect abuse, or an animal is suffering from neglect to the point that they are endangered, document with photos and do not intervene. For example, if a neighbor has a chained dog that is without protection from the elements or goes for long periods without food and water, take photos of the animal each day without these resources to prove the conditions. If you begin feeding an animal or providing shelter for an animal before documenting and reporting, animal authorities are not able to step in because the animal no longer lacks care, (you have become the supplemental care). If you are aware of physical abuse taking place and are safely able to gather video or photo evidence, do so before reporting to authorities.
If you are int he Charlotte Mecklenburg area, report abuse to 311, option 2. If you are outside of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area, you will report to your local animal care and control agency and/or the police department that oversees the animal care and control division in your county.