Reporting Cruelty

Cruelty towards any animal is a crime in Pennsylvania. Penalties for animal cruelty can vary from summary to felony levels.

Pet owners must:

  • Provide sufficient food and clean water for an animal to maintain its body weight
  • Provide clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather, keep the animal dry, and be adequate to preserve the animals own body heat
  • Provide veterinary care if an animal is sick or injured

What Humane Police Officers Do:

  • Serve as Police Officers, with powers of arrest, sworn to enforce the cruelty laws under authority granted by State Statute 22 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 37
  • Humane Officers investigate allegations of cruelty, neglect and animal fighting as defined under Title 18, Chapter 55, Subchapter B of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code
  • Rescue mistreated or abandoned animals
  • Prosecute animal abusers in court
  • Work diligently to assure the safety of the pets and people in the community
  • Educate pet owners on proper care of their animals and offer resources for help to retain pets

What Humane Society Police Officers Do Not Do:

  • In Pennsylvania, Humane Officers are not permitted to enforce dog laws concerning licensing, rabies, vaccinations, dangerous dogs, dog attacks, dog bites, barking complaints, nuisance violations and running-at-large issues. Please contact your local Animal Control (link to animal control page) or local police for any of these situations
  • Humane Officers are not permitted to enter private residences without permission or a search warrant – nor can they seize animals without proper cause
  • Humane Officers are not permitted to enforce any laws that involve theft. Custody conflicts regarding animals generally are civil in nature and must be addressed by an attorney
  • Humane Officers are not permitted to give out any legal advice – nor can they enforce any local ordinances involving animals
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