Humane Investigations

Filing a complaint

Abusing ANY animal is a summary offense in Pennsylvania.

If you suspect that someone is abusing, neglecting or has abandoned their pets within Allegheny County, please report it. Operations of the Western PA Humane Society Humane Investigations department are currently suspended due to our recruitment of the humane officer position. Please call 911 for assistance. 

More information:

Pet owners must:

  • Provide sufficient food and clean water for an animal to maintain its body weight.
  • Provide clean and sanitary shelter which will protect the animal against inclement weather, keep the animal dry, and be adequate to preserve the animals own body heat.
  • Provide veterinary care if an animal is sick or injured.

What Humane Society Police Officers Do:

  • Serve as deputized law enforcement officers to enforce PA cruelty laws.
  • Investigate situations of cruelty and neglect.
  • Rescue mistreated or abandoned animals.
  • Prosecute animal abusers in court.
  • Work diligently to assure the safety of the pets and people in the community.
  • Educate pet owners on proper care of their animals and offer resources for help to retain pets.

What Humane Society Police Officers Do Not Do:

  • In PA Humane Officers are not permitted to enforce dog laws concerning licensing, rabies, vaccinations, dangerous dogs, dog attacks, dog bites, barking complaints, nuisance violations and running-at-large issues. Please contact your local animal control or local police for any of these situations .
  • Humane Officers are not permitted to enter private residences without permission or a search warrant – nor can they seize animals without proper cause. 
  • Humane Officers are not permitted to enforce any laws that involve theft. Custody conflicts regarding animals generally are civil in nature and must be addressed by an attorney.
  • Humane Officers are not permitted to give out any legal advice – nor can they enforce any local ordinances such as tethering laws or pet limits.

If you are within Pittsburgh City limits there is an anti-tethering ordinance. This ordinance prohibits the continuous tethering of dogs as a means of containment as well as keeping dogs outside in extreme weather. If you suspect that this ordinance is being violated please contact the City of Pittsburgh Animal Control: 412-255-2036.

Animal Control should also should be contacted for animals running at-large, vaccine and license violations, exceeding the local pet limit and nuisance violations.

* Our Humane Investigations Department relies solely on donations to continue to help fight cruelty. You can donate to help.