What Happens When You Call Animal Control on a Neighbor

What Happens When You Call Animal Control on a Neighbor

Animal cruelty doesn’t have to be in the form of violence; neglecting a pet is considered abuse and may warrant the attention of the authorities. If you’ve seen a neighbor’s pet being neglected, you may be compelled to call animal control. But what happens when you call animal control on a neighbor?

Reporting a neighbor to animal control will result in agency officers contacting the owner of the animal. The owner might get away with a warning at first. If the problem persists, the agency may pay the owner a visit and give them a citation.

Calling animal control may be the best move if you witness animal cruelty. If you need some guidance, this article will provide helpful information should you need to call animal control for certain reasons.

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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!

Getting into a dispute with your neighbor is never fun.

Sometimes when you call animal control, the disturbance has stopped before they had a chance to get there. Oftentimes animal control will say they need proof before they are able to do anything.

You need to be able to catch your neighbor and/or their animals in the act for whatever is going on.

Having a decent security system like a Ring Video Doorbell or Outdoor Security Cameras (both on Amazon) is a smart thing to do in this situation. This will provide animal control with all the evidence they need to take the necessary action!

When to Call Animal Control on a Neighbor

It is important to know when you should be calling animal control if you have an issue with your neighbor’s pets.  But of course, you can’t just call animal control on your neighbor right away, especially in cases where there needs to be an investigation.

You don’t want to call and make false complaints to animal control, either. There are instances where an upset neighbor would make complaints about someone else’s dog just because they want to give the owner a hard time. 

If you have to make a call, make sure you have proof of the situation you’re calling for.  Usually, negotiations and discussions with your neighbor should be able to resolve the problem. If not, that’s when you should get the animal control involved.

There are several reasons to call animal control and animal cruelty or animal neglect is not the only one. They include:

  • A neighbor dog that wanders into your property – Before reporting to animal control, make sure that it is not an isolated incident. Dogs can sometimes get off their leash and its owner may not even realize it.

    If a dog keeps visiting your property, however, and damaging your lawn, is showing signs of aggressiveness, you may report it. Likewise, if you believe the neighbors let their dog run loose.
  • Dead animals that end up in your property – Whether the neighbor cat or dog died on your lawn, or it died without its owner in sight, let animal control help with the removal.
  • Injured animals – if you see an injured cat or dog, whether on your property or otherwise, call animal control. This will be best if you notice that the owner is not around.
  • A dog who chases your livestock – you might have farm animals in your backyard and your neighbor’s dog keeps chasing them away – or worse, attacking and killing them.

    If you’ve made complaints to your neighbor about this several times but nothing has been done, you can report them to animal control.
  • Abuse and neglect – If you see your neighbor’s dog chained or tied up for several hours in a day or notice that it has become a lot thinner, that could be a sign that the dog is not being taken care of.

    You may also be a witness to active animal abuse. In that case, call your animal control to investigate the matter.
  • Aggressive dog – Calling animal control is one way of dealing with a neighbor’s aggressive dog.

    If you see a dog in your neighborhood that’s known to be aggressive wandering around without a leash, or perhaps you witnessed an active dog attack, you should call animal control immediately.

You might also enjoy our post on Neighbor Stole My Dog (Do This to Get Your Dog Back)

What Is Considered Animal Neglect

Animal neglect is already considered animal abuse. But not all cases of neglect are intentional and are sometimes only a result of a lack of education regarding responsible pet ownership.

In that case, the owner may be given a warning and advice on how to responsibly take care of a pet.

If you’re genuinely concerned about a neighbor’s dog being neglected, here are things to look out for before reporting:

  • The animal caretaker doesn’t provide food, water, and shelter. For instance, in summer, we know that the heat can kill a dog.

    If you see a neighbor repeatedly leaving the dog outside without water and shelter, that could qualify as neglect.
  • The owner doesn’t provide veterinary care, especially if the animal is obviously in a poor state of health

Animal neglect or animal cruelty, in general, should be reported to the authorities, especially if it’s done deliberately since it causes suffering to the poor creature.

According to the Humane Society, any individual committing acts of intentional cruelty may signal psychological distress. That person could also be a victim of violence or is more inclined to commit violence.

How to Report Animal Neglect

If you witness animal neglect and want to report the situation, you should call your local animal control number. And if you’re worried about your neighbor going after you for calling, just make an anonymous report.

Many cases of animal neglect often go unreported because witnesses are hesitant to speak up. You can help in some way by reporting the poor creatures and help them get out of the situation. But of course, you have to gather enough proof that the animal is being neglected.

Proof can include a series of recordings showing the bad living conditions of an animal. These should help officers take immediate action.

You might also enjoy our post on Neighbor Tried to Poison My Dog

How to Call Animal Control Anonymously

Anonymous reporting is very common and easily a solution for those who want to help out but don’t want their identities known.

Two animal rescue organizations are dedicated to the preservation of lives and preventing animal cruelty – the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Humane Society of the United States.

Both organizations have representatives in different states so you can bring up your complaint to them. The good thing is that these organizations also have 24-hour hotlines to accommodate reports from witnesses. You don’t even have to leave your information if you make a report. 

Note that, although anonymous reporting is helpful in getting the groups’ attention, making yourself known as the witness can help pin down an animal abuser more successfully.

What Happens When Animal Control Is Called for a Dog Bite?

Calls to animal control regarding dog bites are also quite common. Many of these cases also come from homeowners who have problems with their neighbor’s aggressive dogs. If you witnessed a dog attack, it’s vital to report it to animal control immediately.

The officers treat this as an urgent situation and will pay the owner a visit. This is to verify if the dog has a complete rabies vaccination record. The officer might also separate the dog from its owner for quarantine purposes. This is also especially true if the dog is unlicensed or doesn’t have a tag.

Can Animal Control Give You a Ticket or Citation?

Animal control can definitely give a citation or ticket to owners of animals who have been reported. For instance, if a animal is noticed to be on the loose several times, someone could report that animal to animal control.

Animal control then pays a visit to the owner to discuss the report. When there are repeated reports from different people, that is saying something and that could be reason enough for the officer to issue a ticket to the owner.

What Happens When Animal Control Is Called on You

Being reported to animal control can be stressful – whether it happened to your neighbor or to you, especially if the complaints have no merit. So what should you expect should you find that there is an animal control notice on your door?

The same thing applies: if the officer believes that there is basis for the complaint, he or she will visit you to discuss matters and let you off with a warning.

At the same time, it’s not uncommon for officers to receive false complaints or unfounded claims resulting from civil issues rather than animal issues.

If you get reported, will you ever find out?

How to Find Out Who Called Animal Control on You

If a neighbor called animal control on my cat or if a neighbor called animal control on my dog, surely I would really be curious who made the call. 

Admit it – if you get reported for whatever reason, you would surely be dying to know who among your neighbors would rather complain about you to authorities rather than talk to you personally.

Unfortunately, you can’t find out from the animal control personnel themselves. Information regarding the complaint will remain confidential and rightfully so.

It’s the only way more witnesses can be encouraged to report any cases of animal cruelty.


If you’re thinking about reporting a case of animal neglect, you might be curious as to what happens when you call animal control on a neighbor. Likewise if you’re considering reporting your neighbor’s animal that’s constantly running around loose in your area.

When you report situations like these to authorities, know that they will first pay a visit to the animal owner. Usually, the owner gets off with a warning, unless the situation is urgent, in which the animal is really in bad shape. In that case, the officer will pick up the animal.

If the owner is being reported several times, he or she will be given a ticket or the animal could be seized. For animals that have bitten someone, animal control has the right to seize or impound the animal.

Before you report someone to animal control, make sure you have solid proof that neglect is happening. If the animal is on your property, make sure it’s not just a one-time incident. More importantly, don’t report to animal control if it’s your way of annoying your neighbor.

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