By Krista Sobecki, Humane Investigations Coordinator
In 2019, Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations Department investigated several complaints that resulted in large-scale rescues of animals who were living in unsafe conditions. These animals would still be suffering if it were not for the good Samaritans who reported these situations.
Each of our investigations begin after we receive a phone call or email from a concerned citizen, which is then entered into our reporting system. When filing a report with Humane Investigations, it is critical that you provide a name and phone number so we can follow up with you. Sometimes, individuals request to remain anonymous when they are making a report, but is important to note that Humane Society Police Officers will never disclose the source of the complaint during the investigation.
It is possible that the person who reported the problem may be required to testify in court. This is especially true if the issue involves an incident that was witnessed by the individual and no one else. If someone calls who only heard about the incident and did not actually witness it, this is considered hearsay and does not give us grounds to open an investigation.
Often times, incidents that were directly witnessed by the caller will require the individual to complete a witness statement form. This form will be used as evidence in the case and gives our Humane Investigations team the foundation to begin an investigation. We may also ask for photographs and videos if they are available.
Whether you are reporting an issue by speaking to our staff or completing the witness statement form, there are other pieces of information we will need to begin an investigation.
- Phone Number
- Address of Complainant
- Address or detailed description of where the incident took place
- When the incident occurred
- If the incident is on-going, how often does it occur?
- Specific details about the incident that was witnessed
- Type and number of animals involved
- Description of the animals including body condition, injuries, etc.
- Animal access to food, water, and shelter
- Other agencies that may already be involved such as another organization or police department
- Any other information that officers should know
By having this information available during the first conversation, complainants can help us start our investigation as quickly as possible, getting help and justice for animals that may be suffering. If you have witnessed animal cruelty or neglect, please contact our Humane Investigations team at 412.847.7066 or call 9-1-1.