Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

www.okawvetclinic.com

Reporting Animal Neglect - Where, When and How

 

Many veterinarians will receive calls from concerned citizens about animals at abandoned properties or other places that are lacking for basic care. Occasionally there may be calls about downright cruelty as well. Fortunately most cases concerning animal welfare are about neglect rather than cruelty. When you see an animal needing better care, or in a situation that may cause them harm here is some information about who to call, or what to do.

Illinois has the Humane Care for Animals Act. You may read this act on the state of Illinois Department of Agriculture website.

Under this act the basic needs of shelter, food, water and veterinary care are covered, as well as dog fighting, and other cruelty acts. You may read the current version of this act at the above website. 

When you do see a pet in a dangerous or urgent situation such as in a hot car, call the animal control department first. If it is after hours, call the sheriff's department. Humane investigators are available to investigate neglect, but it may take a few days for them to do the investigation. Early reporting is essential. Reporters will be kept confidential. 

Neglect is the most common form of abuse. Either owners do not know or appreciate the amount of food or sheltering a pet really needs. Sometimes knowing that others are looking out for this pet will motivate an owner to do better. Sometimes not. Occasionally a tactful approach pointing out that the dog knocks over the food or water will help. Maybe it won't. For these cases, the humane investigators/animal control officers/or other officers are best trained to encourage the owner to give up ownership. Just removing an animal from a property can result in interfering with the legal process of these cases, and delay a good resolution. 

The biggest concerns most good samaritan citizens have are will it be trespassing to provide water/food or shelter to an abandoned or neglected animal? I checked with Clay Foley the humane investigator from the Champaign County Humane Society and he advised it may be. In these cases work with your local officers to get the basic needs provided until an investigation can be done. You can provide the bowls, water, food etc and then find a way to get that on the property that would not be trespassing. So early reporting is best! 

Animals in hot cars are always a concern. The law is very clear that the police/animal control officers are legally able to remove the pet from the car and hold that pet at a shelter until the owner claims the pet. Cruelty charges can be enforced in these cases immediately along with all charges for pickup, inpoundment, etc. Please leave your pets at home. If you cannot leave your pet at home, take the pet out of the car and have someone stay with them in a shady spot. I have sadly seen the results of that quick errand on a hot summer day that resulted in a much overheated pet.