One of the primary objectives and activities of our organization is to investigate cruelty to animal complaints and work with the proper authorities to resolve issues involving animal abuse and neglect. As the state’s only humane society that is also licensed as a private investigation agency through the State Board of Private Investigator Examiners, we have years of experience in reviewing complaints sent to us and conducting on-site investigations. We have half-a-dozen volunteer cruelty case managers who help us analyze reports and work with law and code enforcement agencies to address and resolve the issues.
After receiving a report online, on social media, or over the phone, we review what agency has jurisdiction over the matter and which local, state, or federal laws apply. After speaking with the complainant to verify the facts of the report and confirm our receipt, we then share the information with the proper enforcement agency, whether it’s the local animal control department, the police, or a federal agency. After identifying the agency and forwarding the complaint to them, we ask them to assess the situation first-hand and report their findings back to us. Many times, the officer or deputy will go to the scene and call us to describe the situation allowing us to assess the issues and determine the best course of action.
Oftentimes, the complaint involves the neglect of a companion animal. For example, a domestic dog might have been observed tied to a tree for an extended length of time with no food, water, or shelter from the elements. In that scenario, we’ll ask the deputy to inform the owner or custodian they must provide adequate shelter and reasonable space for the dog to move around, or they will face getting a citation or being arrested for violating the state cruelty laws. Often, the owner is given a few days to comply and the situation can be resolved without the intervention of the courts. However, if the animal is being criminally abused or neglected and needs to be treated by a veterinarian or removed and boarded, we offer to pay all costs, in order to convince the owner to surrender the animal and allow us to take custody of the animal in need. Offering to pay for these types of services often acts as an incentive for the authorities to pursue criminal charges. Our agency also offers to pay for any forensic tests, if an animal is deceased and if the time, date, and cause of death need to be determined.
Over the years, we have worked closely with local, state, and federal officials on different animal abuse cases, issues, and complaints, including dozens of sheriff’s departments, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), state and federal prosecutors, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We have also helped different agencies execute search warrants and using a small team of experienced volunteers we have removed and treated hundreds of criminally neglected animals. To help spur interest in different cases and encourage individuals with knowledge and information about specific crimes committed against animals, we establish reward funds, and several times this has led to the arrest of individuals suspected of abusing animals.
In the recent past, we have also hosted cruelty investigation and prevention workshops for law enforcement agencies, rescue organizations, and interested individuals. On more than one occasion, we’ve had prosecutors conduct some or all of the presentations. We have also given live testimony or provided evidence to the prosecution in more than 100 civil and criminal adjudications in parishes throughout Louisiana.
Our goal is to continue developing new partnerships with local, state, and federal officials and assist them in their efforts to bring suspected animal abusers to trial and help cultivate Louisiana as a kinder, more compassionate state for all animals.