Poisonings and shootings are the most common types of animal abuse we see in cases where a cat or dog was permitted to roam the neighborhood, either deliberately or by accident. All animal cruelty is tragic, but cases involving the shooting or poisoning of a companion animal are often even more tragic because in most situations, the act could have been prevented.

Individuals who allow their animal companions to go outside unsupervised are putting those animals in very real danger of being harmed by people who are irritated by animals' barking, defecating in yards, digging in flowerbeds, or bothering other animals. Those who are left alone in fenced-in yards or tethered at the end of chain are at the mercy of cruel neighbors or passersby who may maliciously harm them. It is imperative that pet owners supervise animals' time outdoors and ensure the safety of the animals they care for by taking them for walks on a leash, visiting parks, or playing in a safe, secure yardtogether.

The only way you can truly protect your pets against these kinds of tragedies is to keep them indoors. For a list of other ways to help protect your pets, click here.

If you Suspect That Your Pet Has Been Poisoned

If you feel there is a chance that your pet has been poisoned, take him or her to the veterinarian for immediate medical treatment. Time is of the essence, and the sooner you can get medical treatment, the greater the chance of survival.

If your pet does not survive, ask the vet to perform a necropsy to determine what kind of poison was ingested, and contact the authorities.

Shooting and poisoning cases have the lowest rate of success in finding a suspect, partly because the animal harmed was almost always outside and unattended, so there is a much lower chance that someone witnessed the crime.

Antifreeze is the most common poison used against "nuisance" animals because it is incredibly lethal (as little as a teaspoon can kill), inexpensive and not uncommon for someone to possess. The sweet taste of antifreeze makes it palatable and even enticing to animals. Because antifreeze is so commonplace, it becomes easy for the perpetrator to claim that it was an accident, or that they weren't involved at all. It is usually very difficult if not impossible to prosecute animal poisoning cases unless the poisoned food can be found on their property, and even then, the suspect will often claim the food was placed in the yard to kill rodents or other nuisance animals to avoid prosecution.