Animal Cruelty & Neglect


Reporting Cases of Abuse or Neglect

Please note – The Sacramento SPCA does NOT provide abuse/neglect investigation services. Do NOT report cases of abuse or neglect through this web site or to us via e-mail or telephone. Instead, immediately report cases of abuse or neglect to:

Sacramento County Animal Care and Regulation

3839 Bradshaw Road
Sacramento, California 95827

City of Sacramento Animal Care Services

2127 Front Street
Sacramento, California 95818

Be sure to collect details to help these agencies investigate more quickly, such as specific location and description of the animal; license plates, address and description of the home and suspected person; and nature of abuse or neglect. Please be sure to leave your name and phone number in case they need to call to ask for further information. Your report can remain anonymous, however your willingness to be a witness and testify about what you saw can mean the difference between the person being prosecuted or being free to abuse and neglect more animals.

Don’t wait for the situation to worsen. And don’t attempt to intervene or do anything illegal. Sometimes confronting the suspected person can result in retribution to you or the animal.

Taking the first step to call for help on behalf of an animal in need is often the difference between its life and death.

What Constitutes Abuse or Neglect?

In some situations, neglect is not intentional but is caused by a lack of education. For example, unknowing dog owners leave their pets in cars on hot Sacramento days. The air inside can reach lethal temperatures in just minutes. Officers from Sacramento City or County Animal Care can respond and offer assistance. By law, every animal must have adequate shelter from the weather such as a doghouse, and access to fresh water and food. Though it’s unfortunately not a law, we recommend companion animals be indoors most of the time as members of the family as they are safer, healthier, happier and better behaved.

In other cases, animals are intentionally abused or neglected. In those situations, Sacramento City or County Animal Care officers can remove the animal and work with local law enforcement to prosecute the abuser. Cruelty to and neglect of animals is illegal.

Breaking the Cycle of Violence

Violence against animals is the single best predictor of violence against people.

What Type of Abuse or Neglect is Illegal in the State of California?

In summary, it is illegal to:

  • Leave an animal in a car when the temperature can become life threatening
  • Maliciously and intentionally maim, mutilate, beat, torture, torment, wound, or kill an animal
  • Overdrive, overload, or overwork animals (such as horses). Deprive any animal of necessary sustenance, access to water, shelter, veterinary care, and adequate exercise
  • Poison animals belonging to another person
  • Abandon an animal
  • Fail to provide proper care for animals in pet shops
  • Cruelly transport animals in a vehicle
  • Fight animals against each other or against people for amusement or gain
  • Train animals to fight
  • “Pole” horses (training them to jump by hitting them on the legs with sticks with sharp points)
  • Fasten live animals to machines to lure dogs
  • Chain a dog longer than three hours
  • Trade in implements for fighting birds. Possess gamecocks for fighting purposes
  • Use bristle-burs, tack-burs, etc. to incite an animal to buck (such as rodeo animals)
  • Stage bloodless bullfights
  • Dock (amputate) the tails of horses
  • Abuse elephants by depriving them of food, water, or rest, use of electricity, physical punishment resulting in damage, scarring, or breakage of skin
  • Insert any instrument into any bodily orifice, use of martingales and block and tackle.
  • The following situations should also be reported directly to our partners at the Sacramento City or Sacramento County Animal Care and Control:
    • Loose or stray animals
    • Barking complaints (These may also be resolved through the Sacramento Mediation Center at 916-441-7979)
    • Dead animals
    • Animal bite reports
    • Animal licensing