pug, cruelty complaint, criteria

Criteria for making an animal cruelty complaint

In 2016, the Ontario SPCA investigated over 16,000 animal cruelty complaints. In a day, our dispatchers can receive hundreds of calls. So, what information do we need to know in order to launch an investigation?

When filing a complaint, the caller will be asked a series of questions depending on what the complaint is about. Here are some specific examples.

pug, cruelty complaint, criteria
photo credit: hannahkrajewski sad pug via photopin (license)

Abuse allegation

If someone is calling about an abuse allegation they will be asked a few things such as; to describe what happened, when it happened, what the person looks like etc.

Lack of shelter (neglect)

When the public calls about lack of shelter for an animal outside they would be asked how often the animal is seen out, how often they go by, can they see the entire yard etc.


Regardless of the type of complaint, we need an exact address before an investigation can begin. In order to effectively provide services to the public, our officers don’t have the resources to search for an address in a general area. This is also to protect our officers so support can know where they are located.

Social media complaints (videos and viral posts)

To begin an investigation we would need to know where the abuse occurred and where the individual resides. Often these videos are from different parts of the world so we would need to determine that it’s in Ontario and that we have the jurisdiction to act. When people see a post from someone else who is the eye-witness to the abuse, they can encourage that person to report to us directly.

If you are ever unsure if what you have seen is abuse, call 310-SPCA (7722) or email cruelty@ospca.on.ca to speak with one of our dispatchers. 

Sep 20, 2017
by Emily Cook