legal resources

The Animal Legal Defense Fund provides these resources to help you learn how animal protection laws function within the legal system.

Animals and the Law

The field of animal law is complex. Use these articles as a guide to understand the fundamentals.

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What You Can Do

Do you need help with a specific legal situation involving an animal? Our guides below are provided with that end in mind.

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Other Resources


What To Do When Animal Cruelty Laws Have Been Broken

If you witness the abuse or neglect of an animal, please immediately file a formal written complaint with the local law enforcement agency.

Glossary of Legal Terms

Download this list of common legal terms, organized in order from A to Z.

Animal Hoarding Facts

Hoarding is one of the most egregious forms of animal cruelty, affecting tens of thousands of animals – mostly cats and dogs – in communities nationwide.
court house

Victim Impact Statements in Cases of Animal Cruelty

A majority of states guarantee you the right, either by statute or state constitutional amendment, to submit a Victim Impact Statement as part of a criminal case against someone who injured or killed your animal.
Veterinarians' Role in Reporting Animal Cruelty

Veterinarians’ Role in Reporting Animal Cruelty

Veterinarians and other veterinary professionals play an integral and critical role in the fight against animal cruelty.

The Crime of Bestiality/Zoophilia: Sexual Assault of an Animal

Taboo as a subject to be sure, sexual crimes against animals are not exceptional, isolated incidents. The case facts run a wide range.
cat on sidewalk

Charging Considerations in Criminal Animal Abuse Cases

Prosecutors understand that their communities have a compelling interest in preventing animal cruelty, and they take seriously their role in bringing animal abusers to justice.

Attending a Criminal Court Proceeding

Attending court proceedings for criminal animal abuse cases is a great way to demonstrate that your community cares about animal protection and expects zero tolerance for animal cruelty.

Ways to Give

Since 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund has been the leader in the fight to win animals the legal protection they so desperately need—and deserve. Your generous support is vital to our continued success.