My Neighbor Neglects or Abuses his Dog

What Can I Do?

Little dog in white cage.
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If you witness abuse or acts of cruelty, phone 911 or your local police department immediately!
Animal cruelty can be defined as unjustifiable acts causing death, suffering, and/or injury to an animal by a human being. Animal cruelty is against the law no matter where you live, although penalties range from fines to jail terms. In some states animal cruelty is a felony.

Locate your state's animal cruelty laws thanks to the ASPCA.


Definitions of neglect can vary greatly from area to area. Interpretation of "food, shelter, and water" can mean the difference between allowing a dog to stay with its original owner, and removing it from the home.

Steps You Can Take:
  • Talk to your neighbor. Carefully try to determine whether your neighbor neglects his dog unknowingly, or accidentally. Often a person can find himself unable to properly care for an animal, or was unprepared for the amount of dedication a dog needs.

    Offer to take the dog off his hands. Offer a sum of money if need be. Once he has relinquished the dog (it is strongly recommended that you obtain a proof of purchase, or receipt), you can then turn the dog over to a rescue, or keep the dog yourself.

    Call your local humane society, SPCA branch, or animal control department. Describe what you have seen in regards to your neighbor's neglect or mistreatment of his dog. They will either take action, or advise you further.
    What Can I Do? If you witness abuse or acts of cruelty, phone 911 or your local police department immediately!
    Animal cruelty can be defined as unjustifiable acts causing death, suffering, and/or injury to an animal by a human being. Animal cruelty is against the law no matter where you live, although penalties range from fines to jail terms.
    In some states animal cruelty is a felony.

    Locate your state's animal cruelty laws thanks to the ASPCA.

    Definitions of neglect can vary greatly from area to area. Interpretation of "food, shelter, and water" can mean the difference between allowing a dog to stay with its original owner, and removing it from the home.

    Steps You Can Take:
    • Talk to your neighbor. Carefully try to determine whether your neighbor neglects his dog unknowingly, or accidentally. Often a person can find himself unable to properly care for an animal, or was unprepared for the amount of dedication a dog needs.

      Offer to take the dog off his hands. Offer a sum of money if need be. Once he has relinquished the dog (it is strongly recommended that you obtain a proof of purchase, or receipt), you can then turn the dog over to a rescue, or keep the dog yourself.

      Call your local humane society, SPCA branch, or animal control department. Describe what you have seen in regards to your neighbor's neglect or mistreatment of his dog. They will either take action, or advise you further.