How to Report Animal Cruelty or Neglect

To report a suspected situation involving an animal that may be abused or neglected, and in distress, please contact us at 613-725-3166 ext. 224 or email us and provide the following information:

  • Your name, address and telephone number for our records.
  • The date, time and place (address) of the offence.
  • The registration number and description of any vehicle involved.
  • The investigator will need to ask you questions about the animal(s) involved to establish the full situation (i.e. the basic who, what, where, when, and why if possible). These will relate to what you have seen in relation to the animal's environment and its body condition.

It is OHS policy to treat all complaints in the strictest confidence. Your name will not be disclosed without your permission, but the OSPCA investigator will need to contact you if they need additional information. All information is kept confidential but may be used in the event that a search warrant is required or if an offence has been committed and a charge recommended to Crown Counsel, in which case you may be called to give evidence.

The Ottawa Humane Society always aims to prevent cruelty through education and opts for court proceedings only as a last resort.


Animal Cruelty and Neglect

Rescue and Investigation Services (RIS) has trained OSPCA agents and inspectors who investigate suspected cruelty and/or neglect of an animal. In cases of neglect or cruelty, the animal(s) concerned may be removed from the owner's premises if they are in immediate distress. Agents or inspectors "remove" animal(s) with strict adherence to regulations under the Ontario Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (Ontario SPCA) Act. They may also lay charges where wilful neglect or abuse can be proven. Charges are laid under the Criminal Code of Canada, primarily sections 444 through 447, or the OSPCA Act.

Distress as defined in the OSPCA Act:
"Distress" means the state of being in need of proper care, water, food or shelter; or being injured, sick or in pain, or suffering; or being abused or subject to undue or unnecessary hardship, privation or neglect.

Bill 50 was tabled in the Legislature by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services in April, 2008 and is the most comprehensive amendment adopted since the provincial animal welfare legislation’s inception in 1919. The new Provincial Animal Welfare (PAW) Act changes took place in March 2009 and it toughens and modernizes the Ontario SPCA Act; creating new provincial offenses and imposing stiffer penalties for those convicted of animal abuse.

Key changes in the amended Ontario SPCA Act or Provincial Animal Welfare (PAW) Act include:

  • Establishing new provincial offences against animal cruelty, including causing or permitting distress.
  • Providing judges with greater flexibility to impose stiffer penalties, including jail time, fines up to $60,000 and a potential lifetime ban on animal ownership.
  • Providing inspection powers to the Ontario SPCA; allowing investigators to inspect premises where animals are kept for the purposes of exhibit, entertainment, boarding, sale or hire.
  • Permitting the Society to apply for the custody of an animal victim while a case is still before the courts.
  • Expanding the standards of care to be applicable to all animals, not just dogs and cats.
  • Requiring veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse or neglect with protection under the law.
  • Making it an offense to train an animal to fight with another animal or to own animal fighting equipment.
  • Making it an offense to harm a law enforcement animal, such as a dog or a horse.