NOTE: We are temporarily unable to take on any new humane investigation cases.

Please call 9-1-1 to reach your local police who can also enforce the state animal cruelty law or contact the humane officers at Humane Animal Rescue at 412-345-7300, option 1.

We are still available to discuss your concerns and offer general information and referrals, but at this time, you must contact another officer for an investigation or rescue.  If after reviewing the information provided here you have questions or would like to speak with someone, call us at 412-847-7066, option 1.

Each year, Animal Friends’ Humane Investigations Team handles over 1,000 calls from citizens reporting suspected animal neglect and cruelty. The Humane Investigations Team employs Humane Society Police Officers who are trained and certified to investigate reports of neglect, cruelty and abuse of animals in Allegheny County. Humane Investigations is available to law enforcement agencies outside of Allegheny County with assistance and resources for animal cruelty and neglect cases. Humane Investigations is also able to provide training on Pennsylvania Animal Cruelty Laws to law enforcement agencies, municipalities and community partners both inside and outside of Allegheny County.

To Report Animal Cruelty

If you have witnessed animal cruelty in Allegheny County, contact our Humane Investigations team to give your eyewitness report.

Contact our Humane Investigations Team


Only those with firsthand knowledge should file a report. Hearsay and secondhand information cannot be investigated. To ensure your report is as helpful as possible:

  • Include an address or location, a detailed synopsis of the concern and a phone number where you can be reached.
  • Do not leave a message asking us to call you back for information.
  • Do not call multiple agencies with the same report.

Our Humane Investigations team responds to calls as quickly as possible – if your concern is urgent or life-threatening and requires an immediate response, please call 911 or contact your local police.

Humane Society Police Officers

Humane Society Police Officers (HSPOs) enforce animal cruelty laws under the authority granted by Title 22 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 37 – Humane Society Police Officers.

What HSPOs Can Enforce

Neglect of Animal

  • Failure to provide for the basic needs of each animal, including:
    • Food and water
    • Shelter that is clean and sanitary and protects from the weather, retains body heat and keeps the animal dry
    • Necessary veterinary care

Cruelty to Animal

  • A person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal

Aggravated Cruelty to Animal

  • A person intentionally or knowingly:
    • Tortures an animal
    • Commits an act of neglect or cruelty causing serious bodily injury or death

Tethering of Unattended Dog

  • An unattended dog may be tethered for less than 9 hours in a 24-hour period if the following conditions are met:
    • Tether is secure to a well-fitting collar with swivel to prevent the dog from being entangled
    • Collar may not be a tow or log chain or choke/pinch/prong/chain collar
    • Tether is at least 3 times the length of the dog measured from tip of nose to base of tail or 10 feet, whichever is longer
    • Dog has access to water
    • Dog has access to a shaded area
    • Area must not have excessive waste
    • The dog must not be tethered for longer than 30 minutes when the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit

Animal Mutilation

  • Ear cropping
  • Debarking
  • Tail docking
  • Surgical birth
  • Declawing of a dog

Animal Fighting

  • Causing, allowing or permitting an animal to engage in fighting
  • Receiving compensation for the admission of another person to a place kept or used for animal fighting
  • Owning, possessing, keeping, training, promoting, purchasing, stealing or acquiring in any matter or knowingly selling an animal for animal fighting
  • Wagering on the outcome of an animal fight
  • Paying admission to or attending an animal fight
  • Knowingly permitting a place under the person’s control or possession to be kept or used for animal fighting

Possession of Animal Fighting Paraphernalia

Transporting Animals in a Cruel Manner

Taunting or Torturing Police Animals

What HSPOs Cannot Enforce

Enforcement of the following issues falls under Animal Control or the Pennsylvania State Dog Warden

  • Stray animals/animals running at large
  • Rabies vaccinations
  • Dog license
  • Dog bites/dangerous dogs
  • Local ordinances including pet limits
  • Kennels and puppy mill inspection
  • Animal ownership (custody disputes are a civil issue)

Animal Law Resources