What is animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cruelty investigated by humane officers is unintentional neglect that can be resolved through education. Intentional cruelty, or abuse, is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, or veterinary care or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal. Animal “hoarding” is a situation that happens when someone has collected so many animals that they are unable to provide proper care for them. In New Hampshire there are numerous laws that protect the welfare of animals.


Abandoned KittenShould I report this?

Are you uncomfortable with what you are seeing? If you are suspicious of what you have seen, please report it. You might be the animal’s first witness. It never hurts to err on the side of caution. You might be saving lives!

How do I report cruelty?

If you witness an act of animal torture or abuse call your police immediately. In some cases, you may have to leave information and have the city/town ACO or Police Department call you back. Not all towns are able to help in these types of situations.

If you know or suspect that an animal is being neglected or abused, you can report your information by calling our Field Services Department at 603-772-2921 ext. 111 or fill out the form below. Any inquiries regarding suspected neglect or abuse is welcome. Your calls are confidential; however, our agent will require information to receive a valid report.

What should I report?

You should be prepared to provide an address of the area in question or an accurate description of the area you witnessed. You should be prepared to provide the types and approximate number of animals in question and the time of day the observation was made. You will be asked to provide a description of the situation you witnessed, whether it included lack of shelter, lack of food and/or water, or underweight, unhealthy or injured or deceased animals.


Bristol ShepherdImportant facts you should know

  • All domestic animals must be provided food, water, shelter, and proper veterinary care.
  • Abandonment, serious neglect, abuse, poisoning, and torture are all types of animal cruelty and can carry felony penalties in some cases.
  • Animals should not be left inside a vehicle for any amount of time during very hot or very cold weather. An animal left in a vehicle could be subject to extreme temperatures and die quickly.
  • It is against the law to carry loose dogs in the back of pickup trucks.
  • In addition to investigating hundreds of reports of suspected animal neglect or abuse every year, our investigator works with other humane organizations to develop and strengthen legislation that protects animals throughout the State of New Hampshire.
  • It’s important to remember the link between animal cruelty and domestic violence. Speaking up for an animal or human may be saving more than just one life.  Read more here

One of the greatest contributions you can make to your community is to get people working together to stop any form of abuse or neglect. You can make a difference by working with your local and state representatives on legislation that improves the welfare of animals. Learn about your local ordinances and what statewide bills are being considered, and call or write on behalf of the animals. Together we can help both the animals and citizens of our community.