It Starts with You.

A dilapidated and seemingly empty barn was home to the five horses and nine sheep in an Ashtabula rescue. From that rescue, one horse was blind and one deceased. Held captive in the dank barn for over two years without the light of day, they watched through the barred windows as passers-by lived their lives.

Residents and law enforcement wrote off this property as abandoned, until one day, one whinny at the right time alerted a community member to the existence of life within its walls.

Becoming informed of the signs of abuse and the steps to take in reporting cruelty is key.

Ohio Humane AgenciesSection 959.13 | Cruelty to animals

Answering the call

Happy Trails cannot investigate as a first response to instances of cruelty brought to our attention.
First, notify your local law enforcement or humane agency.
It starts with you.

Please Read Carefully the Following Report Cruelty Information

HTFAS is not legally authorized in Ohio to investigate suspected cruelty. The humane officer or animal control agency must carry out the investigation. Any instance of animal neglect or cruelty must first be reported to the humane agency for the city/county in which the address resides.

Gather the following information for your report of cruelty:

  • Complete address of the complaint
  • Name of person/persons suspected to be involved
  • Description of animal/animals affected; do they have food, water, and shelter? Can you see the skeletal profile, are hooves neglected? Are living conditions dangerous?
    Use our Signs of Animal Abuse as a guideline.

Record the name of the person with whom you registered a complaint as well as the day and time your call was placed.

Documentation is important. During an investigation attempt to take photos, videos, or create a log to help document when things happen. Please do this only while obeying trespass laws and considering your personal safety.

Please keep in mind our humane officers work diligently to investigate all instances of reported abuse. Just because they have not placed a return call does not mean they have not investigated. Investigating takes time and procedures must be followed. Hundreds of reports of suspected abuse are placed in each county and the job of a humane officer is hindered by the obligation to return calls and emails. If you have not heard back from or seen evidence of the investigating officer, consider placing a follow-up call for the status of the complaint.

If the situation is dire and the animal is near death, please call 911. Local law enforcement can help. In some instances, HTFAS can support you in reporting an occurrence to the county’s humane officer as well as aid the humane agency in housing the animal(s) should they need to be removed.