Humane Investigation involves a great deal of work that is often very difficult. Some of the Investigation Considerations are listed below.
- Most of the work involved with investigations is education, and does not result in impoundment or charges. Most neglect/abuse cases do not go to court.
- Many complaints we receive may not be situations where treatment of the animal is illegal. For instance, we receive complaints about a dog that doesn't receive attention or love from people. No one can mandate that a pet be loved. What is required is that the animal have shelter, food, water, and vet care as required. Although these situations can be heartbreaking to animal lovers who witness them, they represent a difference in philosophy. Some individuals believe animals are property and not pets. An outside dog may be against our adoption standards but it is not illegal.
At times investigators may come across a situation of abuse or neglect but the evidence isn't available or enough to press charges.
We may very well be able to help the pet but unable to pursue criminal charges.
- Investigations often are on-going. Many times an investigator will visit a location multiple times to check on a pet or to find the owner at home.
If we acquire the animal, the timetable of events will depend on if the owner relinquished the animal to us. With a relinquishment, they surrender their rights to us. We can begin immediately to provide medical care, house the pet, and adopt the animal as need be. If an impoundment is necessary, delays will exist.
Animals that are abused or neglect may require costly medical care and need an extended stay at HSCI to recover. Animals that have been abused often need a great deal of staff time devoted to them to be able trust people again.
If injuries are severe, the pet is dying, or if the animal was raised to be aggressive, euthanizing may be necessary. We make these decisions on a case-by-case basis.
- The investigations HSCI handles enforce the Humane Care for Animals Act by the Department of Agriculture. HSCI has cared for the animals and incurred expenses associated with the investigation. There are few cases where restitution has been made, even if it has been ordered.
- Helping neglected/abused animals is very important to our mission and at the heart of caring for animals. Because we are a non-profit relying solely on the donations of individuals, local businesses, and a few grants, our resources (money, space, staff time) can be depleted easily.
- Animal torture and dog fighting have been investigated locally. Please be aware the picture of the victim in this example may be considered upsetting, and may not be appropriate for younger visitors. Local Victim
- A small minority of our volunteers are involved with investigations. The work is extremely emotional and demanding. Investigators are required to go through training and be licensed.
- Neglect and abuse against animals is very upsetting and needs addressed, not ignored. Animal abuse is often a signal of abuse to children or other family members. In children, animal abuse is considered a strong indicator of emotional problems and propensity for violence.
The animals need someone to speak for them. Please report and cooperate with us regarding complaints of neglect or abuse. You may save a pet's life or prevent future violence.