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NEVER APPROACH THE OWNER OF AN ANIMAL YOU SUSPECT IS BEING ABUSED OR NEGLECTED! This will only invite trouble for yourself, because not all pet owners are as well informed as they should be. What you see as abuse, they may see as a form of discipline or the natural way to treat a subhuman species.
To protect yourself, and the animal, report your suspicions to your local Humane Society or your local law enforcement. They have the training and authority to approach individuals who appear to be breaking the law. They can provide education on the proper care of animals for some cases, and can legally rescue the animal when necessary.