Animal Cops

Common Sense Media says

Animal rescue reality show is OK for older kids.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The negative themes of animal abuse are outweighed by very positive images of ASPCA agents, veterinarians, and citizens in community service roles. The series focuses on the rescue missions and the importance of both taking care of and respecting animals of all kinds. The show also raises awareness about animal health and the potential for animal adoption and shows both men and women in important public service jobs.


Includes images that show clear signs of severe abuse, including dead animals. Other images include open and infected wounds, animals near starvation, and flea/tick infestations.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

No human consumption of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. Some scenes of animals receiving medical treatment include medications and/or injections being administered.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this series -- which focuses on the efforts of animal welfare units to investigate and rescue neglected, abused, and/or abandoned animals -- includes graphic images of animal cruelty (including some dead animals). The opening credits feature a "parental discretion" advisory. Some animals have to be euthanized, though the procedure itself isn't shown. Episodes always include positive examples of abused animals being cared for by agents, veterinarians, and compassionate citizens. Sensitive kids and adults may find some images disturbing.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

ANIMAL COPS works to raise awareness about the mistreatment of animals by profiling the people and agencies that are committed to saving them. Past seasons have followed the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) in Detroit, the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (HSPCA), and San Francisco's Animal Care and Control unit (ACC), with each episode (which typically includes several different cases) following investigators and rescue teams as they set out to find and save animals. Some of the animals have accidentally wandered into precarious situations; others have been neglected, abandoned, and/or physically abused. While some cases are heartwarming efforts to reunite lost pets with their owners, most of them, sadly, center on animals rescued from people and organizations that have failed to care for them -- or, worse, that have subjected them to vicious cruelty; for this reason the show includes many graphic incidents of abuse and neglect (up to and including images of dead animals). Episodes jump back and forth between the different cases to add suspense, but by the end of the hour, each is solved.

Is it any good?


Viewers who stick with the program are rewarded by seeing many of the animals on the road to recovery (many are even placed in happier homes) and justice served to their abusers. Plus, viewers learn about the rescued animals' medical conditions and possible treatments -- which will fascinate critter-minded kids (and adults!). Of course, viewers are also reminded that owning any animal is an immense responsibility -- pets and service animals need to be well cared for and shown a lot of compassion -- and that failing to meet that responsibility can lead to hefty fines and even jail time. Despite mostly positive outcomes, parents should watch the show with their kids, as children who are especially sensitive toward animals might find the series disturbing.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the responsibilities of caring for animals and the consequences of neglecting them. Why would people let their animals suffer? What does it mean to put an animal "to sleep"? Have you ever witnessed a case of animal abuse? Who would you call in your community to report it? Who looks out for the animals in your area? Is there a shelter nearby where you might be able to volunteer? What kind of education does it take to become a veterinarian? In your house, is your pet considered a member of the family? How much responsibility is it to keep your pet healthy and happy?

TV details

Cast:Debby MacDonald, Jim Boller, Vicky Guldbech
Network:Animal Planet
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of Animal Cops was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byWilderstorm April 8, 2011

Great messages, but too violent/disturbing for younger kids

This show is a truly moving picture of how people treat animals and how we can help. The investigators are clearly very passionate about what they do, and the success stories are very optimistic and touching. However, the violence and disturbing images in the show are too much for young children; I am 18 and still very disturbed by some episodes, such as one where a horse was slaughtered with a chainsaw after breaking his legs in an illegal race. These images and themes are not appropriate for 10-year-olds. Though they should know that animal cruelty exists and must be stopped, the program is too graphic for such young children. I recommend the show very strongly - for older teens and adults.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written bybkid August 19, 2010

Pets are Cool, Hoarding is Not. Little Kids Shouldn't Watch.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Adult Written byhorse_gerbil April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Graphic, but Very Important.

The point is to prevent cruelty to animals. Graphic images of dead, dying, neglected, bloody, emaciated, flea/tick infested animals are common, but what do you expect. There is occasional language from the abusive owners, but it is a great show and teaches kids the responsibility of animal caretaking is not to be taken lightly.


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