Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty or abuse is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, rest, sanitation, or veterinary care, or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating or killing an animal.
While one person's interpretation of what constitutes animal cruelty may be different from another's, humane agents must use the legal definition of animal cruelty in order to proceed with cases. To download a copy of Vermont's criminal animal cruelty statute, go to the Vermont Laws section of the manual.
Also be sure to read about the latest developments in animal cruelty by checking out our animal cruelty news page.