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The notes below are offered as guidance to members of the public wishing to report cases of cruelty to animals.

Members of the public sometimes witness acts of cruelty to animals and, appalled by what they see, phone the SPCA to report them.

Often however, the information that they are able to give, is not enough to enable the Inspector assigned to the case to investigate it thoroughly, and even if legal action is warranted, lack of information impedes successful prosecution.

SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU SEE OR LEARN OF CASES OF CRUELTY?

Well, quite obviously each case is different, and specific action does not necessarily apply in every case; but, in general terms, here is what you should do:

Firstly, if the cruelty is something that can be stopped immediately, then stop it. If, for example, a horse or a dog is being unmercifully beaten, intervene if you can safely do so.

Of course, the sort of person who would mistreat an animal this way would be quite likely to vent his anger on anyone who interferes, and members of the public should use discretion.

Few occasions arise when a camera is readily available, but if there should be one, photographs are useful evidence.

YOU WILL THEN WANT TO PHONE THE SPCA.

Before doing so, be ready to give as much of the following information as possible:

Your own name, address and telephone number. This is necessary for record purposes and also enables the Inspector to inform you of the result of his / her investigation. It is stressed that the policy of the SPCA is to treat all complaints in strict confidence. Names of complainants are divulged to nobody unless such complainant has no objection.

The name (s), address (es) and telephone number (s) of the person (s) involved.

The date, time and place of the offence.

The names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses.

State whether you would be prepared to testify in a court of law.

Then give a detailed description of what you saw, as factually and unemotionally as you are able. This is important, for emotion clouds coherence, and important details may be omitted.

And finally, don’t be afraid to get involved in any legal proceedings which may ensue.

After all, if you feel strongly enough to report the matter in the first place, you should be prepared to assist us do whatever has to be done to set the matter right and bring offenders to justice.