Holiday Safety Tips


Call SPCA Cincinnati with an Animal Complaint

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and SPCA Cincinnati has graciously provided the following information regarding contacting them with animal concerns.

* Please note that the information contained in this article is specific to Hamilton County Ohio. Other counties or municipalities may have different policies and procedures when handling animal concerns. Please consult with your local animal shelter or animal control agency for information on their policies and procedures.

In Hamilton County Ohio, SPCA Cincinnati is the agency that handles most animal complaints. We investigate cases involving dogs not being properly confined by their owners, stray dogs running at large without a known owner, animals in some sort of peril or distress and cases of neglect and animal cruelty. Other concerns involving animals are investigated on a case by case basis. Many investigations require the assistance of other agencies such as the local police department, health department or the Ohio Department Of Natural Resources.

SPCA Cincinnati is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for true emergencies and during regular business hours to receive calls for non emergency concerns. Our trained phone staff is available to discuss your concerns with you and decide if SPCA Cincinnati can help. Referrals and the contact numbers for other agencies are available if it is decided that your concern would be another agency's responsibility.

As with other law enforcement dispatch systems, calls for service have to be prioritized. Injured animals calls along with calls concerning animal bites (especially if the animal is still at large) receive a higher priority than a complaint, say, about a neighbor's dog that is not being fed properly, but the dog is not in distress.

We understand that often people are reluctant to call in an animal complaint because they fear retaliation from the animal's owner. We do understand these sensitivities, but we do like to obtain information such as the caller's name and phone number in case we have to call back for further information. This information is not released to the animal's owner. If the caller insists on anonynimity, we understand and will follow through with an investigation because we believe that the animal's welfare is paramount.

We encourage neighbors of pet owners and those in the community who may observe an animal on a regular basis, to be aware of the animal without snooping or intruding on the owner's privacy. Anything that seems not right, out of place or an animal that is clearly in distress should be reported. It is better to report a concern that turns out to be no problem than not to call in a concern that has merit and the animal continues to suffer or be a threat to the community.

Citizens should be patient with the process after they have called in their concern. An instant resolution to a problem is rarely achieved. It often takes multiple visits to the animal owner's residence before the issue is resolved. Often, it may take several visits just to find the owner at home and begin to discuss the concern with him/her and take a look at the animal/s at issue. Cases involving seizure of an animal and prosecution of the owner can take much longer because of court appearances and rehabilitation of the animal involved.

Finally, we at SPCA Cincinnati consider it a privilege to serve the animals and the citizens of our community. However, we could not serve without the vigilance and help of the citizens in Hamilton County. We much appreciate the help given to us by the community and we look forward to a continued, fruitful relationship to benefit and watch over our animal friends.

SPCA Cincinnati's main number is 513-541-6100. This is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week number. After hours, true emergency calls are routed to our friends at the Hamilton County Communications Center.

Written by Andy Mahlman, SPCA Cincinnati