Arkansas shelters report rise in animal abuse


Babygirl received over 30 stitches after being hit with a machete. An Arkansas shelter says she’s just one example of the rising animal abuse in the state.

MALVERN, Ark. — Animal rescue centers in Arkansas are packed to capacity, with most animals needing extra attention due to animal abuse.

Molly, also known as the Cuddle Babies Rescue’s “Little Fighter,” was recused by the organization and was a victim of neglect.

“When she came to us, she weighed 23 pounds and four ounces,” Cuddle Babies Rescue co-founder Kristie Hamilton said. “Today, she weighed 29 pounds and eight ounces.”

Cuddle Babies Rescue in Malvern said they saved Molly from an abusive owner who neglected, starved and de-hydrated her and her babies. 

“They can’t speak for themselves [and] they can’t feed themselves,” Hamilton said. “Someone has to step in and be the middleman, and we get Cuddle Babies. That’s what we do.”

Hamilton said the abuse didn’t stop there. Babygirl, another dog, has also seen her fair share of challenges from her previous owners.

“We got a call Saturday afternoon that a dog had been hit in the head with a machete and rushed to the vet,” Hamilton said. “She received 23 internal stitches and 13 external stitches.”

According to Hamilton, shelters across the state are seeing this type of abuse far too often.

“We are overwhelmed as every rescue in Arkansas is overwhelmed,” Hamilton said. “The need is great. These dogs and cats, they can’t speak for themselves.”

Malvern city attorney Cecilla Ashcraft said the city does not tolerate animal abuse.

“We are attempting to inform everybody that this is unacceptable,” Ashcraft said. “If it happens, we’re going to come. We’re going to do what we must to ensure that animals are taken care of here in Malvern because it is unacceptable.”

Arkansas law states any person found guilty or pleads guilty of cruelty to animals can be fined up to $1,000 or one year in jail. However, some people want to see more change in the current laws.

“I wish the laws were a little bit stronger in Arkansas because other than abuse, the main requirements are adequate food, shelter and water,” Hotspring County Sheriff Scott Finkbeiner said. “I would like to see a little more added.”

Hamilton said if they could save one dog from what Molly and Babygirl have gone through, it could change the world.

“We take every one of these animals to heart. They have our heart,” Hamilton said. “They don’t hold grudges, and it is precious to see something that is mistreated… back to healthy and then they get their adoptive home.”

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