CVMA | Reporting Animal Abuse

Reporting Animal Abuse

Most cases of animal abuse and neglect can be handled through client education. When education fails, a report should be filed with the appropriate authorities for investigation.

  1. Decide whether to educate or report.
    • Look at the number of problems, severity and duration.
    • Review the medical records of the client's other animals.
    • Review the medical record of this patient for previous injuries.
    • Assess the attitude of the client. Indifferent? Concerned?
    • Evaluate the appearance and attitude of family members.
    • Implement procedures for follow up on questionable cases.
  2. Before reporting
    • Obtain a detailed history.
    • Perform a detailed examination.
    • Meticulously record your findings. Begin collecting evidence as soon as you suspect abuse, include photographs. Note that you cannot perform treatments or diagnostics without owner consent, prior to contacting the humane authorities, but if you obtain owner permission for a radiograph, you can expand to take whole body radiographs. See documenting abuse cases.
    • Do not destroy evidence inadvertently.
  3. Contact the appropriate humane authority in your jurisdiction to report abuse.
  4. Work closely with the humane authority in developing and documenting the case.
  5. Contact your provincial regulatory authority for guidance if you are concerned about your personal liability.
  6. Familiarize yourself with the Criminal Code and your provincial legislation.