When Your Companion Animal Has Been Harmed

Whether by an acute act of violence or by chronic neglect,
animal cruelty is a crime in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Below are some resources to help you when your companion animal has been harmed.

If you witness the abuse or neglect of an animal, please immediately file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency and insist that an investigation be completed. If charges have been filed, please contact ALDF and read this important information.

If you purchased an animal from a breeder or a pet store and then discovered that the animal is sick, or if the animal has even died as a result of ill health, read this information.

If someone has injured or killed your animal, you may be entitled to damages, regardless of whether the animal was injured or killed intentionally or accidentally, as long as the conduct is determined to be negligent. Read this important information.

A majority of states guarantee you the right to submit a Victim Impact Statement as part of a criminal case against someone who injured or killed your companion animal. Learn what to include when writing one and how a Victim Impact Statement may affect your case.

When a police officer kills someone’s companion animal, it deeply affects the animal’s human family, as well as the officer, the neighborhood, and the community. This sad situation is all too common and ALDF fields many calls asking for advice.

This information is designed to provide a general introduction to handling companion animal wrongful death or injury cases both for caretakers of animals who have been injured or killed and for attorneys handling these cases for their clients.

One of the most frequent requests for assistance that the Animal Legal Defense Fund receives is from people whose companion animals have suffered injuries, or even death, and who fear that negligence by their veterinarian was the cause. Here is some important information about veterinary malpractice.

Finding an attorney to help with your animal-related issue can be an important step. ALDF offers these helpful suggestions when finding an animal law attorney.

Abusers of animals are five times as likely to harm humans. Nearly half of the victims who stay in violent households do so because they are afraid for their animals. The "link" between violence against humans and animals is clear. But there are resources that can help.

Several academic studies have found a clear link between animal cruelty during youth and violence against humans as an adult. This link is so well established, profilers routinely use animal cruelty reports in their assessment of the possible threat criminals pose.

Mourning an animal companion is painful enough due to the loss itself, but may be deeper still due to the loneliness of this type of grieving. Often, others fail to appreciate the depth of our grief, making the process that much more painful. Read this insightful article for help during this difficult time.

A principal function of the American legal system is to resolve disputes through an attempt to determine the truth. There are generally two kinds of legal actions filed in the U.S.: civil cases and criminal cases. This page describes the process of a civil lawsuit.

Be a Partner in Protection!

Donate monthly to help animals.

or make a one-time gift »

ALDF's Online Store

Help fund our lifesaving work!


Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.

Join Us

Follow ALDF on these networks:

Stay Connected

Sign up for Action Alerts.