Animal neglect or abandonment is a common type of animal cruelty where people do not provide adequate care for animals in their charge. The neglected animal may be their own pet, a farm animal, or wildlife.
A neglected animal is not provided with proper food, water, veterinary care, shelter and socialization. Chaining an animal for a long period of time can also be neglect and is considered illegal in many municipalities and several states.
Neglect may be deliberate abuse or simply a failure to take care of an animal. Either way, the offender is strictly punishable for such acts of animal cruelty. If the neglect is unintentional, correctional authorities try to correct the situation by making the owner aware of basic animal care requirements. Generally, legal systems and welfare agencies is prone to intervene in severe cases of animal neglect or in cases involving large numbers of animals.
All U.S. states have animal cruelty laws, and 46 states and District of Columbia treat some forms of abuse as felonies. Most states’ animal cruelty statutes contain provisions that address the minimum standards of care for an animal. Definitions of terms such as adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care are also included in these provisions. In many cases, animal neglect can be prosecuted as a felony if the neglect was intentional, malicious or extreme enough to be considered “torture” or to have caused extreme physical suffering or death.