Whilst most animals in the community are well cared for by their owners, there are sadly incidents of animal cruelty. If you suspect that an animal is suffering abuse of any kind or is being neglected, then you should report it. Here are 6 tips to help guide you when reporting animal cruelty.
- Who To Report To
If you suspect that an animal is being maltreated or neglected, you should report this to your local law enforcement agency, be it your local or state police.
If you suspect that an animal is being maltreated or neglected, you should report this to your local law enforcement agency, be it your local or state police. In some states, animal control officers or agents of humane society have been given the authority to investigate animal cruelty complaints as well.
- Report Factual Information
Once you have identified who to make your complaint to, the next step is to ensure that you have all the relevant information ready to pass on. It is essential that you provide evidence which is concise and above all factual. Without proper evidence, it will not be possible for law enforcement agencies to successfully build a case for prosecution.
The key is to provide a specific account of what you have witnessed, as well as any facts about the situation or circumstances involved in the incident, such as the date and time of the incident. Wherever possible, you should also provide the name, address and any contact information that you have of the owner of the animal. Finally, make sure that you provide your own name and contact details, should you need to be contacted again in the future for more information.
- Keep Accurate Records
It is always a good idea to keep a record of any incidents of suspected animal cruelty, especially taking note of dates and times, as well as details of the incidents themselves. Once you report your concerns, make sure that you keep a record of who you contacted, the date of your report, as well as any other information which was discussed, including any provisional outcomes. Before sharing your records, make sure that you always keep a copy for yourself, should it be necessary in the future.
- Cooperate With The Investigation
If you are not comfortable giving your personal information, you can make an anonymous tip. However, by providing your name and contact details, law enforcement agencies are more likely to be able to take their investigation further. In particular, if you are happy to cooperate and be contacted as a witness for future proceedings, it can help make prosecutions more likely, providing the case with more credibility.
- Politely Follow Up
Investigations into reports of animal cruelty can take time, particularly for law enforcement agencies with only a limited number of resources or personnel available to conduct the necessary investigation. However, if you have not received any further contact from the officer assigned to your complaint within an expected length of time, you can contact them to follow up and politely ask for an update.
You should always be respectful and try to follow up patiently with the officer in charge. However, in extreme instances where you are sure no action has been taken, you may wish to contact a supervisory officer. Should no action be taken at this stage, you may then consider contacting a local or state government official to look into the matter, but this action should only be taken as a last resort.
- Avoid Social Media
You should avoid making your animal cruelty complaints public on social media. Any reports should be made to the appropriate law enforcement agencies. By sharing posts or details on social media, you run the risk of compromising the entire case, as well as putting your own welfare at risk or even inciting vigilantism behavior.
In any case of suspected animal cruelty, whether it be through abuse or neglect, make sure that you keep detailed records which you can share with a law enforcement officer. Ensure that all information you provide is factual. By providing officers with your contact details, you can help ensure that the complaint is more credible and that the police can successfully build a strong case, thereby helping to protect animals in your community.