Top 10 Tips for Reporting Animal Cruelty

1. Find out where to report cruelty.

2. When you know who to contact, provide a concise, written, factual statement of what you observed, giving dates and approximate times whenever possible.

3. If at all feasible, try to photograph the abusive situation and date your pictures.

4. It would also be helpful to get short, factual written statements from other witnesses.

5. 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.

6. Never give away a document without making a copy for your file!

7. 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.

8. Follow up! If you don't receive a response from the officer assigned to your case within a reasonable length of time, don't be afraid to present your information to his or her supervisor and, if necessary, to local government officials, such as the county commissioner, and ask them to act.

9. If you have witnessed the cruel act yourself, you can go to your local police commissioner and ask to swear out a warrant to summon the accused person to court.

10. Remember that expert witnesses are sometimes necessary in animal cruelty cases. A veterinarian, for example, can sign a statement that it is his or her "expert opinion" that a dog suffers when hit with a chain, is deprived of food, etc. Expert opinions will very often make or break a case, so if you happen to know a sympathetic veterinarian, you may wish to seek his or her assistance and tell the officer that you have expert support lined up for your case.