With April being National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month, GTHS will be running a few blog posts about animal cruelty – what it is, what can be done and measures you can take to report it. It is an important topic that we receive questions about, and the more information we can provide to the community, the more animals we can collectively help.
DID YOU KNOW?
GTHS is an Affiliate of the Ontario SPCA (OSPCA). This means that we are self-funded and self-governed, but have a relationship with OSPCA. As an Affiliate, our relationship allows us to network, as well as share information, resources, and industry best practices with the OSPCA, their branches, and other Affiliates across Ontario. We are all in this industry for the same reason – to help animals in need.
GTHS does not have animal cruelty investigators, or the capacity to run investigations, therefore we turn to the Ontario SPCA to support this very important function in our region. We are thankful that they are there to provide this support to community members and our four-legged friends in need.
About Animal Cruelty Investigations in Ontario
The Ontario SPCA provides front line protection for animals across Ontario by responding to nearly 16,000 animal cruelty complaints each year and rescuing injured, abandoned and abused animals.
Empowered by the Ontario SPCA Act, Inspectors and Agents relieve animal suffering and distress by issuing orders, removing animals and laying charges under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Ontario SPCA Act, where circumstances warrant. Under the Act, Inspectors and Agents have the same authority as police officers when enforcing animal-cruelty laws.
The Ontario SPCA operates on a complaints basis. This means that you can help animals by being aware of at-risk animals in your community and by reporting cases of suspected animal cruelty to your nearest Ontario SPCA Community, police, Crime Stoppers or police.
To report suspected animal abuse please call the Ontario SPCA Hotline at 310-SPCA (7722). You can also contact 1-888-668-7722 ext. 327, Crime Stoppers at
1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or your local police.
How the Reporting Process Works
When a case of suspected animal cruelty or neglect is reported, a caller will be asked a series of questions in order to gather as much information as possible. This way the investigators will have the animal and incident specifics.
Once the dispatcher has received the information, the “call” is forwarded to the appropriate officer in the field. That officer will then assess the priority of the complaint based on the provided details and the other complaints they have already received. The officers will then respond to the complaints accordingly.
Often our investigators arrive at complaints with limited details or “pieces of the puzzle”. It is the Agent or Inspectors job to determine the complaints validity and what within their powers they can do to resolve the situation. Callers can help the investigating officer by providing as many details as possible, including the type of cruelty witnessed, the date of the incident, where it took place, and who was involved. All information remains confidential.