Recognizing animal mistreatment

The Bureau of Animal Protection addresses the neglect, mistreatment, or abandonment of domestic and companion animals in Colorado. To fulfill this mission, we rely on neighbors, ranchers, human service workers, veterinarians, law enforcement, and other community members to report cases of suspected animal mistreatment. However,  identifying signs of animal neglect and mistreatment can be difficult to determine since many environmental and health factors have to be fully understood.   

Below is a list of common signs of severe animal mistreatment:

  • Lack of food or clean water
  • Extremely thin/emaciated animals 
  • Untreated wounds or other medical conditions (e.g., limping, lameness) 
  • Significant matted fur or fur infested with mites, fleas, or ticks 
  • Lack of sanitary or safe living conditions, overcrowding or lack of sufficient space for animals, failure to quarantine sick animals
  • Lack of adequate protection from severe weather (extreme heat or cold) for species that require it
  • Extreme tethering for long periods of time or inadequate confinement spaces that prevent the animal from sitting or normal movement
  • Continued lack of dental or hoof care or shearing 
  • Competition of animals for feed, especially weaker or smaller animals 

Dog in a cage