Animal Cruelty

Animal Cruelty and Neglect

In keeping with our mission to promote and protect the health, safety, and welfare of animals and people in our city, the Department of Animal Services investigates and prosecutes animal cruelty and neglect cases.
Report Animal Cruelty or Neglect

Animal cruelty is one of the more destructive ills in society; often linked with sociopathic behavior, cruel and abusive behavior toward animals reflects a severe lack of moral responsibility and social conscience. It can be inflicted in a wide variety of ways and can be rooted in a variety of causes. In turn, this disturbing and malicious behavior gravely infects and poisons our social fabric. Animal cruelty is sometimes linked with other criminal behavior, such as gang activity, drugs, and violent anti-social behavior. Research has shown that people who behave cruelly toward animals are more likely to behave similarly towards humans.

Animal Control Officers are trained to investigate each matter on a case by case basis. Officers are trained to execute warrants and to file charges for prosecution. Animal Control Officers investigate complaints from the public as well as other sources. Those convicted of animal cruelty or neglect may face fines, imprisonment, or both.

Report Animal Cruelty and Neglect

To report animal cruelty or neglect, contact your nearest shelter immediately.

If you see, hear or know of someone who is being cruel or carrying out cruel acts on ANY animal, please report them right away. You can do so anonymously, if desired. Be prepared to provide the address/location of where the animal is located or where the violation is occurring and details about the cruelty or neglect.


In the event of a serious emergency, dial 911.

Animal Control Officers will investigate complaints observed in the City of Los Angeles. If the suspected mistreatment is observed to occur outside our jurisdiction, we may refer your complaint to one of several animal care and control agencies in that area.

If it is determined that inhumane treatment is occurring or has occurred, the animal may be removed from the situation and placed in protective care until a decision has been made.

The California Penal Code defines animal cruelty as the malicious or intentional maiming, mutilation, torture or wounding of a living animal. Any person who overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary food, drink or shelter, cruelly beats, mutilates or cruelly kills an animal is guilty of a misdemeanor or felony. Any person who possesses or trains a dog with the intent to engage the animal in exhibition fighting, as well as any person who is knowingly present as a spectator at an exhibition of fighting of dogs, is guilty of a misdemeanor. In addition, any person who willfully abandons any animal is guilty of a misdemeanor.



Related Links

Chained Dog Laws: Related information from LA Animal Services.

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles (spcaLA): Serving Southern California since 1877; news, programs and services, FAQs, resources, etc.

Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA): Provides animal services to the cities of Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Downey, Lakewood, Montebello, Norwalk, Paramount, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, South Gate and Vernon.

ASPCA: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Provides extensive information, press releases, discussion boards, programs, companion animal care tips, etc.

County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control: The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control is one of the largest and most progressive animal control agencies in the United States. DACC has adopted the philosophy of Socially Conscious Animal Sheltering at our seven animal care centers. We serve unincorporated Los Angeles County and 44 contract cities with a combined total population of over 3 million residents. We cover more than 3,400 square miles of cities, deserts, beaches, and mountains; from the Antelope Valley in the north to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the south, as far east as the border of San Bernardino County, and west to Thousand Oaks. We provide animal control and rescue services in our service areas 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Long Beach Animal Care Services:  The City of Long Beach provides animal care services to four contract cities, including Cerritos, Seal Beach, Signal Hill and Los Alamitos.

Thank you to our lifesaving partners who help us care for #LACityPets