While the exact reasons for intentional animal abuse may vary, there are nine general “types” of abuse. People might abuse an animal:

  1. To control it: This happens frequently when an ignorant pet owner believes that the best way to train an animal is to “punish it” when it does something wrong. It can also happen in the performing animal business, where a few bad trainers abuse the animal when it fails to perform the required action. The result is that the animal eventually performs the requested action out of fear of being abused.
  2. To retaliate against an animal: For example, a dog bites a person and is abused by the victim to get “revenge”. Be careful no to get this confused with self-defense (actions performed to protect the victim, and not for the sole purpose of harming the animal).
  3. To retaliate against another person: A person holding a grudge against another person may torture the other person’s pets to gain revenge on them.
  4. To satisfy a prejudice against a species or breed: A person who hates cats for whatever reason may attempt to kill them.
  5. To express anger through an animal: The fact that domestic animals are usually close by and cannot tell anyone what happens to them sadly means that they can be used as living punching bags.
  6. To enhance one’s own aggressiveness: Some people feel that abusing animals is a sign of strength and toughness.
  7. To shock people for amusement: This happens on the internet a lot. These people are some of the sickest kinds. They torture animals just to make other people feel uncomfortable, and they derive a sick pleasure from it.
  8. To displace hostility from a person to an animal: If a person is angry, he may try to take it out on his animals to give them a taste of what he feels like.
  9. To perform non-specific sadism: These freaks abuse animals because they get a sick sense of pleasure by torturing others. These people are extremely dangerous and often target other people once the thrill of animal abuse wears off.

Other common excuses for animal abuse are the belief that the animal has no feelings and cannot feel pain or sadness, that God gave man complete dominion over animals, meaning that it is okay for an animal to be treated poorly. None of these reasons are right, but they are common excuses.

Another common form of animal abuse happens when a person does not know how to properly care for his animals (not providing adequate food and water, etc.) In these cases, the person often is not aware that their actions are causing the animal distress.