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Report cruelty or an animal in distress

We receive a call for help approximately every 30 seconds. Some situations that may appear distressing are not against the law. In their daily work our inspectors have to prioritise cases where the law is actually being broken.

Stray or abandoned animals

Our limited number of officers mean we can only attend when a stray animal is in imminent danger, such as serious injury or illness.

Stray or abandoned dog

Stray dogs are the responsibility of local authorities, who must provide a dog warden service.

Report a stray dog to your local authority.

Check out our top tips on what to do if you've found a lost, stray or abandoned dog,

Stray or abandoned cat

Stray cats can be hard to identify, they can often be owned or living as a feral. We don't collect healthy stray cats and ask instead that you read our advice:

How to help stray cats.

Barking dogs

Dogs bark for many reasons and may not necessarily be in distress. In the first instance, please contact your local authority and make a noise complaint. They will contact us if they have further welfare concerns.

Report a barking dog to your local authority

Separation-related behaviour

It’s possible the owner isn’t aware that their dog is barking while they’re away. Please let the neighbour know what’s going on while they’re out. They might find this guide helpful:

Separation-related behaviour

If you've seen the dog and are concerned they are sick or injured, please call us on 0300 1234 999.

Dog kept outdoors

It isn't ilegal to keep a dog outside, but they must have access to adequate shelter, food and water. It can be frustrating but we're only able to act when there is a concern about the dog's health and welfare.

Find out more about dogs being kept outside

Tethered horses

Tethering compromises a horse’s well-being and is not a practice we recommend, however tethering itself is not illegal in the UK. Our officers must work within the law, so we cannot send them out to tethered horses unless the horse’s welfare is affected (e.g. an injury caused by improper tethering equipment).

Find out more about tethering horses

Injured wildlife

Injured wildlife often needs help quickly and our officers are limited in number. 

If the animal is a wild bird or mammal smaller than the size of a rabbit, the quickest way to get help is to contact a local vet or rehabilitation centre as they will not usually charge for treating wildlife.

Find your local wildlife rehabilitation centre

If the animal is larger than a rabbit, please call us on 0300 1234 999.

Baby birds

Baby birds are often better off being left alone. Please don’t touch a baby bird unless you are sure it genuinely needs help. Our advice on fledglings and nestlings gives guidance on how to decide if it does.

What to do if you've found a baby bird.

Reporting cruelty

Call our 24-hour cruelty line to report cruelty or an animal in distress.

  • 0300 1234 999

The call will cost the same as any call to a UK landline number. Please note, during busier periods your call may be placed in a queue. You'll be asked a variety of questions to ensure that your call is prioritised according to its urgency and to ensure there is enough information for us to investigate. Please read our reporting cruelty checklist for further information.

Contact us online

Use our secure online services to report an animal in distress.

Answer as many questions as you can so that we can take action. We may come back to you if we need more information.

What happens next?

We prioritise all calls and online reports of cruelty and injured animals according to their severity and urgency.

Due to the high volume of calls we receive and our limited resources we aren’t always able to respond in the way that would be ideal or as quickly as the emergency services can with more resources. Please be patient. If you’re concerned the situation is worsening, please contact us again.

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