Cruelty to Animals

Cruelty to Animals

For episodes related to this subject, please click on the link in the green bar above that says FOR THE ANIMALS TV SHOW.

VVSA works to protect the welfare of animals through investigation of cruelty and neglect complaints. We work with law enforcement agencies throughout the state.  Our tax dollars support these agencies and part of their responsibility under the law is to investigate concerns and complaints involving animals; do not be told otherwise.  While animals have no voice, you do and should speak up when you witness animal neglect or abuse.  Complaints can be anonymous and directed to your local humane society, sheriff, or police.  You may also call (877) 9-HUMANE (486263).  If you need additional help locating a local resource, please contact VVSA by email or phone at (802) 672-5302.  All correspondence with VVSA can be confidential.

An abuser does not stop to count the legs of its victims.  Bullies generally start with the weakest and often use abuse of animals to intimidate others in the home, especially children.

Vermont Statutes Annotated, Title 13, Chapter 8 addresses the humane and proper treatment of animals.  To view the law, visit 13 V.S.A. § 351 et seq. at

The law addresses, among all other aspects of proper treatment of animals, “adequate” shelter.  During Vermont’s frigid winters, it is critical to provide animals, especially those left out of doors for any extended period of time, shelter that protects them from the elements.  Below are some helpful terms regarding what can happen to the body during freezing temperatures that apply equally to our animal companions.


Hypothermia is an abnormally low body temperature. It is a dangerous condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Hypothermia occurs when your body loses more heat than it can produce. It is usually the result of being exposed to very cold temperatures. But it can also occur in other circumstances, such as:

  • Being in less cold temperatures (eg, if there is a wind chill)
  • Wearing wet clothes or this case, being on wet or frozen bedding
  • Being in a position where the dog cannot move due to a short tether, tangled tether, etc.

Frostbite is frozen water in body tissues. Like burns, frostbite injuries can be ranked in severity. First-degree frostbite is the mildest. Fourth-degree frostbite is the most severe. It may result in loss of the affected body part. Photos of the dogs were not available, so it is impossible without an on site inspection by a veterinarian to ascertain the health and condition of these dogs.

The most common parts of the body to become frostbitten include:

  • Toes
  • Ears
  • Nose
  • Feet
  • Lips
  • Corneas


Frostbite happens when skin is exposed to freezing temperatures. This can cause the body tissue to freeze. Ice crystals actually form within the frozen body part. Blood cannot flow adequately through the frozen tissue. This causes the frozen tissue to be deprived of blood and oxygen. The combination of freezing and oxygen deprivation causes tissue damage or tissue death. Rewarming may also ultimately lead to tissue death.



Animal Hoarding South Ryegate; November 2010



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