Your Role in Cruelty Investigations:
Each Year, we receive hundreds of complaints of possible cruelty to animals. Our humane society police officers follow up on every one of them. Some cases are founded, some require education and follow up, and others fall somewhere in between. Our humane society police officers take each case very seriously.
Sometimes people are reluctant to become involved because they don’t want to cause trouble for someone who may not be deliberately abusing an animal, they are not sure if what concerns them qualifies as cruelty to animals, or they do not want to be identified and have to testify as a witness. Understanding how we handle complaints may help overcome those misgivings. A call can make a difference, maybe even a lifesaving difference.
When we take a complaint we keep the complainant’s name confidential. In most cases what we need from them is enough accurate information to locate the problem situation. Once the investigation is initiated we can gather enough information from our own observations. The exceptions are cases where someone has been an eyewitness to abandonment or a shooting, beating or other incident of abuse. In such cases prosecution is nearly impossible without a witness. In our handling of complaints we take particular pains to avoid adding fuel to a neighborhood or personal feud. While keeping the complainant’s name confidential, we keep the focus off the complainant and on the facts of the case, explaining that people call us out of concern for animals.
When we investigate a case, our aim is to improve unsatisfactory conditions and to show people how to care properly for their animals so as to prevent future problems. We explain what corrections need to be made and then follow up until they are made to our satisfaction. People are often quite cooperative when they understand what is needed. We prosecute only in extreme cases where people are uncooperative. The deliberate approach of ordering corrections and following up is important in building a strong case if prosecution is requires, because it helps to show that neglect is “wanton or cruel” and not just an accidental oversight.
Where to Call About Cruelty and How to Make a Complaint:
If you suspect cruelty to animals in Bucks County call 215 794-7425 and speak directly to our staff. Call when you first notice a problem. Don’t wait for the situation to deteriorate, or for the weather to get worse. A bad situation won’t get better by itself. We will need to know:
- WHAT the problem is. Try to differentiate between what you see and what you think might be the case.
- WHERE it is. A street address is best, but please don’t guess about a street number if you don’t know it. If you do not know the street address provide an accurate description of the place with directions to the nearest intersection or landmark.
- NUMBER AND TYPE OF ANIMALS involved. Are they outside or in a building? Without such information we might see a healthy animal at a location and miss the animal in trouble because it is not visible.
- NAME OF THE OWNER, or person responsible for the animals, if you know it.
It would be helpful if you would leave your name and telephone number too. We will keep it confidential, but we may need to get back to you with questions, especially if we cannot find the place on the first try. If we have your information we will follow up and let you know how the case is resolved.
If you would like to email your complaint, please include your contact information, we may need to speak to you! You may send your emails to
Remember, your call can make the difference in an animal’s life!