To hit a dog without any good reason is cruelty.

Is this sentence ok? I mean the phrase 'without any good reason', does it work? I thought that the sentence should be without the phrase 'without any good reason'. It should be:

To hit a dog is cruelty

Why hit a dog? I talked to the writer and went for the meaning, what I discovered that he wanted to say that 'if a dog is going to bite you, and you hit it to save yourself, then hitting it is ok.' so this is the reason behind adding 'without a good reason'. However, we must not hit any dog while walking and find one on the street, just busy in its own things. To him, it was necessary to add this phrase to make this thing clear that he meant:

If a dog gives you no reason to hit it, you shouldn't hit it.

or in other words: 'Hitting a harmless dog is cruelty.'

Of course, it's painful to see someone hitting a dog or any other animal.

In short, will this sentence [To hit a dog is cruelty.] be considered an animal abuse if it has the phrase "without any good reason"? If yes, then what is the alternative?

  • I like your 'in other words' sentence. It works best. Hitting a harmless dog is cruelty. The phrase without any good reason is wide open for interpretation, unbounded by any identifiable parameters. If I think not sitting when I say sit is a good reason, what is your response? Harmless dog is also open for interpretation but at least you have a definition against which you can measure hypothetical scenarios as to whether the dog was harmless.
    – EllieK
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


A couple of "housekeeping" changes. I'd prefer the participle "Hitting a dog" and it is more idiomatic to use the adjective "cruel" rather than "cruelty".

Hitting a dog without any good reason is cruel.

That is a correct and well formed sentence.

If you remove the phrase "without good reason" you get another sentence that is correct English, but has a different meaning. The difference is just as you say in the question "Hitting a dog is cruel" means that it is always cruel, even if you have a reason.

Both sentences are correct English. Both are reasonable opinions. If the writer wants to say that it is only cruel animal abuse if there is no good reason then they need to include the phrase "without good reason".

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