Cruelty Statistics 2008-2017

You are here

Download PDF: https://www.utahhumane.org/sites/utahhumane.org/files/2017-2018.pdf

 

 

    ANIMAL CRUELTY IN UTAH - 2008 THROUGH 2017

 

    Utah animal welfare organizations have existed since 1888.  They were originally organized to protect overworked or abused livestock.  The Humane Society of Utah has investigated animal abuse since it began as a branch of The Humane Society of the United States in 1960-1961, and has continued these efforts once it became an independent organization in 1972.

 

    From 1888 until 1998 Utah's cruelty investigators were Special Function Peace Officers and Special Deputy sheriffs in many Utah counties.  In May of 1998, Utah's Legislature repealed the section of the Utah State Code which authorized such legal authority.  Many animal control agencies also investigate animal abuse.

 

    Most complaints originate from the public, although we receive referrals from animal control / law enforcement agencies, utility employees, mail carriers,  and others.  Most complaints concern lack of food, water and shelter for domestic animals, i.e., dogs, cats and horses; however, we help a variety of  species.  We also investigate reports of animals being beaten, shot, stabbed, and poisoned, lack of medical attention, severely-matted coats, uncontrolled internal and external parasites, inadequate space, unsanitary conditions, transporting animals inhumanely, physical assaults, and other inhumane acts or omissions.

 

    People are cruel to animals for a variety of reasons.  It may be done:

 

      . to control or retaliate against an animal

      . to retaliate against the animal's owner

      . out of fear or prejudice against a species or breed of animal

      . to express aggression by making an animal violent or aggressive

      . to enhance a person's own aggressiveness

      . to shock others for amusement or for a person's own pleasure

      . as displacement of hostility from a person to an animal

      . as simply not caring or thinking about an animal's feelings or needs

      . to fit in with a person's peer group

      . for financial gain (animal fighting)

 

    These following statistics summarize the years from 2008 through 2017, and detail activities of the Humane Society of Utah's Investigation department:

 

YEAR

CRUELTY/ABUSE INVESTIGATIONS

ANIMAL FACILITY INSPECTIONS

2008

285

779

2009

240

839

2010

197

870

2011

229

822

2012

235

814

2013

279

702

2014

234

818

2015

224

846

2016

189

716

2017

177

603

        - 2 -

 

    Most investigations are resolved by working with owners to teach them about legal requirements, alternative methods of care, and general animal husbandry. Following the Legislature's 1998 deletion of the law enforcement authority section of the Utah State Code. HSU and all other animal protection groups can no longer directly initiate neither adult court cases, nor juvenile referrals.

 

    During 2017 cruelty convictions resulted in sentences which included fines, restitution, probation, mental / psychiatric health evaluations, alcohol and/or drug testing, mental health and/or anger management classes, jail or prison time, supervised probation or probation to the court, orders to surrender their animals, prohibitions against owning or possessing  or having contact with any animals or juveniles during their probation period,  orders to write letters of apology, and community service.



 

YEAR

INVESTIGATION-RELATED BUDGET COSTS, INCLUDING SALARIES

2008

    $43,552.22

(Purchase of 2008 Chevrolet Colorado + Bed Cover)    $22,379.50

2009

    $44,501.52

2010

    $47,098.52

2011

    $48,003.88

2012

    $48,872.54

2013

    $48,740.40

2014

    $49,956.41

2015

    $51,764.93

2016

    $53,610.01

2017

    $52,383.74

 

    We received complaints from the following sources:

 

YEAR

FEMALE

MALE

IN-HOUSE

ANIMAL CONTROL

OTHER

2008

75.8

21.1

1.0

.4

1.7

2009

72.5

25.8

0.4

0.9

0.4

2010

71.1

25.4

0.0

1.5

2.0

2011

76.4

21.0

0.0

0.4

2.2

2012

76.2

22.1

0.0

0.0

1.7

2013

79.2

19.0

0.4

0.0

1.4

2014

71.8

24.8

2.6

0.4

0.4

2015

77.2

19.6

1.3

0.0

1.9

2016

77.2

22.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

2017

79.7

18.6

0.6

0.0

1.1

    - 3 -

 

    Investigations were conducted in 56 cities and towns in 2008, 58 in 2009, 59 in 2010, 63 in 2012, 60 in 2013, 69 in 2014, 52 in 2014, 52 in 2015, 55 in 2016, and 46 in 2017.  These are summarized, by county, and by percentage of total complaints received, in the following table:

 

YEAR

SALT LAKE

UTAH

DAVIS

TOOELE

WEBER

OTHER

2008

73.0

11.9

2.8

3.9

2.5

5.9

2009

69.3

12.1

4.6

5.4

5.0

4.6

2010

64.0

13.2

5.6

4.6

3.6

9.0

2011

61.1

14.0

5.2

4.4

3.5

11.8

2012

64.3

16.6

4.7

0.9

5.5

8.0

2013

61.7

19.4

3.6

4.3

5.7

5.3

2014

66.2

15.0

4.7

1.3

3.9

8.9

2015

62.5

19.2

6.7

2.7

3.6

5.3

2016

65.1

13.8

6.9

2.7

3.7

7.8

2017

59.9

22.6

7.4

2.8

4.5

2.8

 

    During 2008, 60.7% of our complaints involved lack of feed, water, and shelter. In 2009 it was 57.1%, in 2010 it was 49.2, in 2011 it was 55.9%, in 2012 it was 61.7%, in 2013 it was 66.7%,  in 2014 it was 60.7%, in 2015 it was 64.3%, in 2016 it was 61.4%, and in 2017 it was 56.5.

 

    The table below breaks down our complaints, by percentage of animal species or animal establishment involved in investigations for each year:

 

YEAR

DOGS

CATS

HORSES

BIRDS

COMMERCIAL

MISC.

2008

57.9

4.2

21.8

0.7

6.0

9.4

2009

57.9

5.0

23.3

0.8

7.9

5.1

2010

58.9

3.1

19.8

0.5

11.7

6.0

2011

50.7

2.2

28.4

1.3

8.7

8.7

2012

65.5

1.3

22.1

0.4

5.1

5.6

2013

57.7

2.5

24.4

2.2

6.1

7.1

2014

61.1

3.4

20.9

1.3

5.6

7.7

2015

60.3

3.1

27.7

1.8

4.5

2.6

2016

61.4

2.1

23.8

0.5

2.7

9.5

2017

65.0

0.6

20.3

0.0

6.8

7.3

    - 4 -

 

Total number of animals involved in total investigations each year.

 

      285 investigations in 2008 involved 804 animals; 240 investigations in 2009  involved   807 animals; 197 investigations in 2010 involved 881 animals, 229 investigations in 2011 involved 1,396 animals, 235 investigations in 2012 involved 561 animals, 279 investigations in 2013 involved 969 animals, 234 investigations in 2014 involved 573 animals,  224 investigations in 2015 involved 472 animals, 189 investigations in 2016 involved 461 animals, and 177 investigations in 2017 involved 725 animals.

 

    These investigations included, in addition to dogs, cats and horses; an alligator, bison, burros, caimans, cattle, chickens, deer, donkeys, doves, ducks, ferrets, finches, foxes, geese, goats, Guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs, koi, llamas, macaws, miniature horses, parakeets, parrots, peafowl, pigeons, pigs, ponies, rabbits, rats, reindeer, snakes, Sulcata tortoises, sheep, tropical fish and turtles.

 

    In addition to cruelty investigations, we inspected animal control shelters, pet stores, petting zoo, zoos, aviaries, and other animal-related businesses and institutions.

 

    During 2008 we performed 2 animal rescues/assists, 0 in 2009, 0 in 2010, 1 in 2011, 1 in 2012, 0 in 2013, 1 in 2014, 0 in 2015, 0 in 2016, and 3 in 2017.  These included: injured ducklings or kittens in storm drains, a pigeon shot with a blowgun dart, abandoned domestic pigeons, a pigeon hanging upside down and entangled in twine on bushes, and a stray rabbit in a Salt Lake City neighborhood, etc.

 

    During 2008-2017, investigators participated in reviews of animal and wilderness environmental impact statements, AVMA Guidelines for the Euthanasia of Animals: 2013 Edition, PETA’s The Final Nail - Number Four - Destroying the Fur Industry, HSUS’s handbook on the investigation of animal fighting, World SPCA “Methods for the euthanasia of dogs and cats: comparison and recommendations,” creation of new animal care handouts on “Pets and Fire,” “Crating,” and “Stray and Feral Cats in Utah Communities” and website articles, and sponsoring anti-cruelty legislation.

 

    With the donated assistance of a private, local organization, we were able to have fifteen animal care handouts on Vehicle Heat, Avoid Injuries by Animals, Chaining Dogs, Food for Thought, Grooming, Old Dog Care, Exercise, Disaster Care, High-Density Pet Ownership, Older Horses, Spring / Summer Horse Care, Winter Horse Care, Hoof Care, Burrs, and Hay There, in addition to four earlier handouts, translated into Spanish.

 

    We proposed a state-wide “Humane Shelter Definition” bill to the Utah Legislature and reviewed a proposed bill strengthening protections for law enforcement service animals.

 

    We responded to a multitude of requests for information concerning the torture and death of a Clearfield cat, named “Sage”, from all over Utah and the U.S.  The Humane Society and its members and contributors were able to establish a reward fund offering over $60,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.

 

    We assisted the Humane Society of Utah’s Board President and General Counsel, Craig S. Cook; and Executive Director, Gene Baierschmidt, in legal research related to the court-ordered death of a Santaquin dog which had caused what appeared to be a small scratch on a child’s leg and helped research and prepare a new dangerous and vicious dog ordinance for Santaquin City.  The order to euthanize the dog was subsequently lifted by the court after Craig S. Cook filed legal briefs in the District Court and the City agreed to dismiss the vicious dog charge.  The dog’s owner then pled guilty to three associated misdemeanor charges involving the dog getting loose and being unlicensed.

 

    We researched and documented the history of the Humane Society of Utah’s legislative and reward efforts from 1960-61 to the present.  We also researched the animal control and court charges related to the long-term impoundment of a dog in West Jordan.  We later wrote a letter to Panguitch City concerning the unsuitability of their community animal shelter following complaints from the owner of another long-term impounded dog.

 

    We reviewed new research proposal forms and protocols as part of Tracy Aviary’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC).

 

    Unfortunately, Utah cruelty investigations and animal protection work will continue to be required into the foreseeable future.  Factors contributing to animal abuse include lack of education about basic feed, shelter, and care; inadequate socialization within homes and schools concerning the need to respect the other life forms with which we share this planet; fluctuations in population movement and financial conditions; and, finally, the indifference shown to commercially-exploited animals, whether in animal fighting, rodeos, hunting, factory farming, or horse buyer-killer sales.

 

    If you witness animal abuse in your neighborhood, at your place of employment, or while traveling through Utah, please contact The Humane Society of Utah or a local animal control department or law enforcement agency.

 

    THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF UTAH

    CRUELTY INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT

    4242 SOUTH 300 WEST / PO BOX 573659

    MURRAY, UTAH 84107 / 84157-3659  

    (801) 261-2919 EXTENSION 210

    E-MAIL: jfox@utahhumane.org