Cruelty FAQs

How do I report cruelty?

If you would like to report suspected cruelty to animals, please call the state’s cruelty hotline, (800) 582-5979. If it is an immediate emergency, please call us at 732-542-0040. We will only ask you to provide information, you will be able to stay anonymous.  We cannot take cruelty reports by email.

What is failure to provide sustenance?

Failure to provide sustenance is the failure of the pet owner or keeper to supply the necessary basics to sustain life. This would include failure to provide fresh food and water, adequate protection from the weather and veterinary care. New Jersey case law has expanded this definition to include animals on a short leash, tethered on a heavy chain or having a tangled chain or leash in such a manner that the animal cannot freely exercise.

What is the penalty for failing to provide sustenance?

The minimum fine is $250.00 and could be as much as $1,000.00 for the first offense, for each animal (each count) in the complaint. Additionally, a penalty of 6 days in jail and 30 hours community service could be imposed. A court can also order that the guilty defendant, may not own or keep animals for up to 5 years, the SPCA may inspect, without notice, the guilty defendants’ premises for up to 5 years, or both.

Do your Officers and Agents always issue summonses in all cases?

No, in most cases, we will issue a written warning. A big part of what we do is to educate the pet owner. Many times, the pet owner is not aware that the conditions suffered by the pet are a violation of New Jersey State law. The written warning will stipulate how much time the pet owner has to correct the problem. This could be from 8 hours, in severe circumstances, to two weeks. Normally, the animal owner has 7 days to make the necessary corrections.

What happens if the animal owner does not make the necessary corrections?

We will issue a summons. The animal owner will be required to appear in court to answer the charges.

Do Cruelty laws apply only to domestic pets and animals?

No, Animal cruelty laws apply equally to both domesticated and wild animals.

Do I call you if there is a stray animal running around my neighborhood?

No, that is an Animal Control issue. Call the Animal Control Officer for your town to have the animal picked up. We only investigate animal cruelty cases. However, in some cases we may issue a summons to animal owners that continually allow their animals to run at large. The danger imposed on animals allowed to run at large is a form of cruelty.

Do you arrest people?

Yes, in extreme cases we will take an offender into custody. We have full Police enforcement powers in the State of New Jersey.

Can I carry my dog in the open bed of my pick-up truck?

No, while some dogs like the wind in their face, the danger to the animal is quite apparent. Dirt, foreign objects (like bugs) and dust can blow into the animals eyes causing temporary or permanent damage to the eyes. Of course there is always the danger that the animal may leap out of the back of a moving vehicle and sustain injury upon impact with the ground. Also, if the animal jumps out into traffic, it may be hit by another moving vehicle. Care must also be taken when transporting an animal in an open top convertible.

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