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Report Animal Cruelty

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Because animals cannot speak for themselves, it's up to YOU to speak for them and report animal abuse that you witness or suspect.

If you want to help animals in your community, familiarize yourself with your state's laws, recognize the signs of abuse and be willing to report it.

How to report animal cruelty

Animal cruelty is illegal in every state (and a felony in 46). If you make a report of alleged animal cruelty, the responding agency is required to investigate.

  • Make the call: Most large municipalities have a local animal control department, animal shelter or humane society. Do an online search to identify the agency in your area, and program the number into your cell phone so you are prepared.

    If you're traveling or living in a more rural area or community without an animal control agency, call the local police department (dial 911 to be most quickly connected) to report suspected animal abuse.

  • Document the details: When you make the call, tell the officer as many details of the situation as you can—i.e., the location, date and time, and descriptions of the people and animals involved. Video and photographic documentation (even a cell phone photo) can help bolster your case. It's also useful to give names of others who may have witnessed the incident. 

  • Prepare to testify: While you may remain anonymous, the case will be much stronger if you are willing to identify yourself and testify to what you witnessed. Since animals cannot talk, a human witness is crucial for building a strong, prosecutable case.

    If your community doesn't have an animal control agency and your local police seem unresponsive to animal cruelty concerns, there are steps you can take to get an animal welfare agency established in your town. Read about the issue here.
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