Do you suspect that an animal you know is being neglected or abused? Click here to see how to spot animal abuse or neglect.
If you have identified an animal that needs your help, there are things you can do as an individual that will make a difference. However, you must be cautious, and you must not do anything that will put yourself or the animal at risk.
Animal control officers can investigate reports of suspected abuse or neglect. You can also contact your local police department. However the ASPCA is the only group that can bring charges for animal cruelty, neglect or abuse against an individual or organization.
IN NJ: If you believe you have witnessed animal cruelty in the state of New Jersey and would like to report it, please call the NJSPCA at (800) 582-5979 or fill out NJSPCA's online form.
If you are not sure who to contact, call or visit your local police department and ask for their help in enforcing the law. You can also contact your local shelter or animal control agency for help.
What to do once you know who to call
First of all, make sure you are not in any danger yourself. Then write a concise, factual statement of what you observed, giving dates and approximate times whenever possible. If at all feasible, try to photograph or create a video of the abusive situation and date your pictures. It would also be helpful to get short, factual written statements from other witnesses.
When you call to report animal cruelty, always make sure to keep a careful record of exactly whom you contact, the date of the contacts and the content and outcome of your discussion. Never give away a document without making a copy for your file! Make it clear to the agent that you are very interested in pursuing the case, and that you are willing to lend whatever assistance you can.
Follow up if you don't received a response within a reasonable amount of time. Don't be afraid to present your case to local government officials and ask them to act on behalf of the animal.
If you witness the cruelty yourself, especially if you have video or photographic evidence, contact your local police department and file a complaint against the person neglecting or abusing the animal. If possible, enlist the support of a sympathetic veterinarian as an expert witness. He or she can sign a statement giving an "expert opinion" that the actions you have documented can cause an animal to suffer. This can often make or break a case, so you may wish to have this type of support lined up before you make your complaint.
Local Agencies that can help: