Reporting Internet Animal Cruelty, Abuse and Crimes

Mostly from Eagle’s Den Rescue. I’ve added the bit about Ireland.

If you come across a facebook page, website, video, or other things on the internet you might find, that promotes/supports violent acts, animal cruelty, abuse, crimes, etc … it’s hard to know what to do, but you can do something, and here are instructions for the proper ways to report the crime, so you can help make a difference and not only have the page or video deleted, but actually turn in the person or group at the source, so as to help prevent them from causing more violence.

So here is the information I found from Jennifer Hinebaugh, that you’ll need to do ….

Reporting Internet Animal Cruelty, Abuse and Crimes

The main things you must NOT do:

  1. DO NOT CONTACT THE WEBSITE OWNER. While it may be mildly therapeutic to tell them what you think of them and their actions, you will be alerting them to their discovery and they may remove the offensive information.
  2. DO NOT FLAG THE WEBSITE FOR REMOVAL FROM A PUBLIC SITE such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or others, as that may permanently delete evidence needed to build a case against the offender.
  3. DO NOT SHARE the information with others, because they may act in either of the above ways which will defeat your purpose. Sharing the website may also increase traffic to the website in question which may support the offender or excite the offender.
  4. DO NOT CREATE AN ONLINE PETITION for the same reasons as listed above.

Now you must collect your evidence

Collect as much information as possible. If you are lacking some of the information listed below, you should still share the information that you do have, and a link to the website with the appropriate reporting agency.

  1. Download as much of the information from the website, IE photos, videos, etc. as you can and save them.
    Print out copies of the offending pages.
  2. Be sure to have as much personal information on the person running the website as possible including, but not limited to, the name, contact information, and location.
  3. Try to determine if the offender is within the United States or elsewhere.
  4. Try to determine the offender’s IP address. You can do this here. Instructions for using dnsstuff are here. I was unable to obtain this information for my report, so this is not a mandatory step.

Animal Cruelty Within Ireland

As far as I’m aware there isn’t an organisation dedicated to internet animal welfare crime – I’m going to write to the ISPCA and see what they say about it – I’ll update this when I know – in the meantime, if anyone does know do pass the info on!!! [no reply – am guessing there isn’t]

For general animal welfare issues, the ISPCA is the org to get in touch with. Here’s the info from their pages:

ISPCA National Animal Cruelty Helpline

A National Animal Cruelty Helpline operated by the ISPCA, deals with many thousands of calls regarding animal welfare. The public have become more aware of animal welfare and intolerant of what they perceive to be cruelty or neglect. Consequently the volume of calls to the ISPCA has increased in recent years and continues to rise stretching our services beyond measure. (Our phone lines are extremely busy, please leave a contact number for our operator to return your call).

  1. If you believe an animal is being cruelly treated or neglected, please call 1890 515515 Monday to Friday 9.00am – 5.00pm in the strictest of confidence, or you may fill in a confidential online complaint form.
  2. Outside of these hours, and you feel your call is an emergency please contact your local Garda Station.
  3. If you have found a stray dog please contact your local Dog Warden.
  4. If you have found a stray cat please contact your Local Society.

Animal Cruelty Within the US

You would follow these instructions to report a US based crime, even if you are not a resident of the US or are not located within the US at the time of the discovery.

To report an animal cruelty or abuse crime that takes place within the United States, report the incident to the FBI. You must include as much information as you can including links to the offending material, names, locations, etc. The submission page for crime tips for the FBI is here. You should also report a US based animal cruelty website to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, also known as IC3. To file a complaint, go to this page. There is no category for animal abuse, so choose a category and explain the situation in the notes. As much information as possible should be included in the report including links to the offending website.

Other resources for reporting Internet animal abuse, especially if you believe an animal to be in danger at the current time IE livestreaming video, and you know the location of the offending party, include reporting to the local police and the possible offender’s local FBI branch which can be determined here.

Animal Cruelty Outside of the US

If the crime is not within the US, it should be reported to INTERPOL. You must include as much information as you can including links to the offending material, names, locations, etc. The submission page for crime tips for INTERPOL is here.

For Animal Cruelty within the UK

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a 24 hour hotline available for such incidents. From within the UK, you can call the cruelty line at 0300 1234 999.

Animal Cruelty Reporting Internationally

Some International Humane Organizations accept Internet Animal Cruelty Reports such as: HSUS Email and PETA Email.

Additional Information

Here are some websites with additional information regarding the reporting of online animal abuse and cruelty:

The following is interesting information from the American Humane Website that defines what animal related actions are considered to be illegal over the Internet:

“Because communications through the Internet have the ability to cross state lines, the Internet is largely governed by federal law. Improving the federal laws as they pertain to Internet animal abuse is critical.

Currently, only a few federal laws address the issue directly: The Crush Act (P.L.106-152) penalizes the display of acts of cruelty and sexual abuse of animals that is intended for interstate commerce. If convicted, offenders may receive up to five years in prison or a large fine.

Two criteria must be met before this statute applies:

  1. actual abuse must occur and
  2. the website in question must intend to sell the images across state lines.

In other words, a website may legally display images of animal cruelty and sexual abuse under this law as long as it is not charging visitors for access or otherwise selling the images. In 2005, the first conviction under this statute occurred in a federal district court in Virginia. (It has come to my attention that this Act has been nullified by our supreme court. Please read more here.)

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act (P.L. 110-27) strengthens the ability of law enforcement to combat animal fighting by providing felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. Each violation of this federal law is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine for perpetrators.

Internet Hunting: The Computer-Assisted Remote Hunting Act (H.R. 2711/S. 2422) is a pending federal bill introduced by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). It seeks to prohibit knowingly making available a ‘computer-assisted remote hunt’ (using a computer or other device, equipment or software to control the aiming and discharge of a weapon to hunt).”

Posted in Animal Cruelty, Animal Welfare Issues, Must Reads, What You Can Do.