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Reporting Animal Abuse

March 11, 2015
A scared dog hides behind a fence.

Animal abuse is a tragic crime that brings harm to those who can’t defend themselves. As the famed author Mark Twain once said, “Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel.”

So what can you do if you witness someone abusing their pets? Who do you contact if you suspect an animal of being neglected? The Georgia Department of Agriculture provides the answers to some of these frequently asked questions.

How do you report animal abuse?

Contact your local Sheriff's Department or Animal Control, but you’ll need to have the following information ready:

  • The name and address of the person or persons abusing the animal
  • Eyewitness accounts and accurate descriptions of the abusive behavior taking place (photographs are the most useful evidence in these situations)
  • The date and time of the incident

Remember, the more detailed information you have, the better.

Who do you contact to report the abuse?

There are 5 different contacts for the different categories of animals. Let’s break them down:

  1. For companion animals (Dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs, birds, rabbits), you have 2 options.
    • If the abuser holds an Animal Protection License, which means that they are a breeder or sell animals, you need to contact the Animal Protection Section of the Georgia Department of Agriculture at  1-800-282-5852, ext. 4914 or 404-656-4914.
    • If the abuser has only personal pets, you need to contact your local sheriff's department or other law enforcement agency.
  2. For equine animals (horses, donkeys, zebras, mules), call the Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Health Section at 1-800-282-5852, ext. 3713 or 404-656-3713.

  3. For livestock (goats, cattle, sheep, chickens, llamas), contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture Livestock Poultry Field Forces at 1-800-282-5852, ext. 3665 or 404-656-3665.

  4. For exotic animals or captive wildlife (deer, large cats, birds of prey), call the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Division at 770-761-3044.

  5. For zoo and circus animals (big cats, primates, elephants), call the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care, Regional Office in Raleigh, N.C. at at 919-716-5532.

All these agencies can be contacted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you suspect any kind of cruelty being done to an animal, take the time to report it. Georgia’s pets deserve to be treated well, so do your part and keep an eye out for their wellbeing! 

About the Author

A Georgia native, Rachael Wheeler works as a Blogger for GeorgiaGov. She writes about a variety of current topics relevant to the Georgia government.

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