One of the most important things you can do to help cats and pets in your community is to report animal cruelty or neglect. Don’t remain silent or be afraid to reach out—there are many resources and professionals who can help. Remember, the cat or animal being abused or neglected is a helpless, innocent, voiceless victim who has no ability or way of protecting itself, so it’s up to you to speak up and take action.
Notify the Police and County Animal Shelter
Even though every state and county is different, you can immediately call your local police department and your local county animal control to report the neglect or abuse. Provide them with a written factual statement of what you witnessed, and include the time and date. Take photos of the neglect or abuse, take as many as possible, to visually substantiate what you witnessed. If there were other witnesses, talk with them, and get their written accounts and include their name, contact information, and date and time of the incident. Make and keep copies of all the documents you submitted for your own file, don’t give away all of your original documentation.
Get an Expert Witness Testimony
Get an expert witness if you can by taking the cat or dog to a veterinarian who will document the neglect or abuse. They can give their “expert opinion” through a signed statement, which can be used in the case or a court of law.
Keep Track of Who You Called
Keep track of who you called—get their name, date you called, and some details about the next steps. Let the officer know that you are willing to testify to the facts that you reported and that you want to pursue the case.
Follow up on the next steps noted in a couple of days and if the original officer you followed up with is not responsive, then contact their supervisor or head of department. Call the County Commissioner to ask them to take action and say you would like them to swear out a warrant to summon the accused person to court.
Don’t Give Up!
Don’t give up! Keep pursuing the case until you’re satisfied that all has been done to document the case and get a court case filed. Be willing to attend the court case, and offer to be on the stand as a witness in the case.
New App Called LiveSafe
Here’s a new app called LiveSafe to report animal neglect and cruelty to law enforcement. You can easily download to mobile phones with iTunes and Google Play. The app enables you to: (1) Report tips anonymously to safety officials; (2) Share your location with safety officials in an emergency; (3) Start a SafeWalk with your friends or family (4) See crimes and safety info in your area. You can get the free mobile app at the iTunes Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/livesafe/id653666211?mt=8
Remember, as hard as it is, you’re doing it for the innocent, voiceless animal that can’t defend or protect themselves. Do it for them!
PETA – If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA immediately at 757-622-7382, option 2. Read more here.
Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) – How to Help a Neighbor’s Neglected Animal