The Protection and Investigations Department
Our OSPCA agents respond to all complaints of animal cruelty and neglect. The majority of the concerns the department investigates are easily resolved matters where the Peace Officers use the opportunity to educate people on animal protection laws. In severe circumstances, the animals can be seized and/or the owner criminally charged.
What is Cruelty and Neglect?
The Protection and Investigations Department enforces animal protection laws that pertain to cruelty and neglect. As defined by the Ontario SPCA Act.
The Protection and Investigations Department responds to over 1,000 concerns each year involving:
How do I Report Animal Abuse?
If you witness an act of animal cruelty or animals being deprived of adequate food, water, shelter or care, you can make a confidential complaint by calling 905-735-1552 or 1-888-222-0568.
What is Animal Cruelty?
Animal cruelty ranges from unintentional neglect to maliciously harming or killing an animal. Intentional cruelty constitutes either wilful or reckless neglect - such as deliberately withholding adequate food, water, shelter, socialization or care. Malicious cruelty is another form of intentional cruelty. This includes torturing, mutilating, maiming or killing an animal. Many cruelty cases investigated involve unintentional cruelty that can be resolved through education.
Is there a link between animal cruelty and human violence?
- Lack of adequate shelter
- Lack of adequate food/water
- Abandoned animals
- Beaten/Abused animals
- Pets left in hot vehicles
- Dead animals
- Grooming concerns
- Lack of medical care
- Dirty conditions/Overcrowding
- Emergency calls
- Animal cruelty is a form of violence. It's often an early warning sign of violent tendencies that will be acted out against people. In fact, it's a risk factor for many forms of interpersonal violence. There is a dramatic link between animal abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, bullying and other forms of violence.
- Intentional animal cruelty or abuse is a warning that an individual has already experienced violence. The individual may be predisposed to committing other crimes such as vandalism, arson, physical assault and even murder.
Abuse of animals is used to manipulate, control and isolate victims of domestic violence.
- A child who has abused an animal could be abused as well.
- Children who witness abuse of their family members or pets are at greater risk of mimicking the abusive behaviour.
- If abuse goes unreported, everyone suffers.