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Frequently Asked Q&A

The information provided refers primarily to New York laws and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice. Do not rely or act upon any information below without seeking the advice of an attorney in your state regarding the facts of your specific situation.

My neighbors neglect their animals. What can I do?

In NYC, animal abuse/neglect complaints should be made to the police at 311. If the situation is particularly dire, call 911. In the rest of the state, enforcement of animal cruelty laws varies by county. For example, in Nassau County, the Nassau SPCA and the District Attorney’s Animal Crimes Unit investigate complaints. In other counties, people should contact the police (who are authorized throughout the state to enforce the criminal laws which prohibit the mistreatment of animals). People should also contact their local SPCA (many also enforce these laws), animal control officers, and sheriff’s office.

Animal cruelty/neglect is illegal in every state. In addition to general animal cruelty/neglect laws, there are NY laws (most contained in Article 26 of the Agriculture and Markets Law) regulating shelter for dogs, banning animal fighting, abandonment, and theft, leaving companion animals in vehicles in extreme heat and cold, cruelly transporting animals, and more. There are also local laws which address the mistreatment of animals. For example, several municipalities, including NYC, have laws restricting the tethering/chaining of dogs. NYC’s tethering law provides, in part, that it is unlawful to tether a dog for more than three continuous hours in any continuous twelve hour period. See NYC Administrative Code, 17-197.

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