This overgrown, dilapidated, seemingly abandoned barn was home to the five horses and nine sheep in our most recent Ashtabula rescue. From that rescue, one horse is now blind, and one deceased. Held captive in the dark, dank barn for over two years without the light of day upon them, they watched through the barred windows as passers-by lived their lives. Residents including law enforcement overlooked this property as empty and abandoned, until one day, one whinny at the right time alerted a community member to the existence of life within its walls.
How can you help? Educate yourself and others on the signs of abuse and the steps to take in reporting cruelty. It starts with you.
Please Read Carefully the Following Report Cruelty Information
Step 1: Happy Trails is not legally authorized in Ohio to investigate any complaints on our own, rather we must be invited in by law enforcement, which can include a humane officer or animal control agency, to assist them with their investigation. Therefore, any instance of animal neglect or cruelty must first be reported to the local humane agency. Have ready the following information for your report of cruelty:
Review our How You Can Help outline.
- Complete address of the complaint
- Name of person/persons suspected to have involvement
- Description of animal/animals affected; do they have food, water, shelter? Can you see 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.
Step 2: Documentation is important! While waiting for an investigation, make sure begin to take photos, videos, or create a log to help document when things happen. You may be asked to testify in court as a witness. The more accurate you can be, the more credible you will appear.Please do this only while obeying trespass laws and considering your personal safety.
Step 3: Expect a call back from the investigating officer if you requested this. 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. Conducting an investigation 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. With this in mind, if you have not heard back from or seen evidence of the investigating officer, place a followup call for the status of the complaint.
Step 4: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, or if the situation is dire and the animal is near-death, please make a call to Happy Trails at 330.296.5914. In some instances Happy Trails can assist you in reporting an occurrence to the county’s humane officer and offer our assistance to the humane agency in housing the animal/animals should they need to be removed.
Remember Happy Trails must be invited in by law enforcement, we cannot act alone.
|• Happy Trails will assist with removing an abused, neglected or abandoned animal/animals, and provide transportation, medical and veterinary attention, rehabilitation, assistance to the prosecution with information and serve as a witness for trial, as well as providing an adoption program after the animal/animals are signed over to Happy Trails.|
|• An environment that you and I may consider abusive or neglectful, may not necessarily be illegal. When an animal is removed from a situation, we must be absolutely certain that we are within the confines of the law and that the animal is truly in need of intervention and care. Otherwise, the legal system will, and has, ordered us to return animals to their owners. The best scenario is to offer owners the opportunity to correct a situation if the condition of the animal is questionable, and that way the case is even stronger in court should the animal need to be removed at a later date. It may help to review Ohio Revised Code – Agricultural Animals.|
|• Happy Trails does not take owner surrenders.|