Neglect & Cruelty Investigations

Defining animal  cruelty and neglect

Animal-Cruelty-Crime-Punishment-624x935Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors harmful to animals, from neglect to malicious killing. Most cases of cruelty investigated by Humane Officers are unintentional neglect that can be resolved through educating owners.

Intentional cruelty or abuse is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care; or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal.

The state of Vermont has specific definitions of animal cruelty, as well as a process for reporting incidents. To learn more about Vermont’s animal cruelty laws, go to For more cruelty reporting information, please read the information below.

Reporting animal cruelty and neglect

All animal cruelty reports in the Town of Brattleboro should be made directly to the Brattleboro Police Department at 802 257 7946. If you reside outside of the Town of Brattleboro and the animal is in immediate danger, please contact the Vermont state police at 802 257 7101.

If you reside outside of the Town of Brattleboro and the animal is NOT in immediate danger, please file your complaint online at You may file your complaint anonymously if you prefer.

What happens if I report animal cruelty or neglect?

When an animal cruelty or neglect report is made, the town’s humane investigator visits the animal owner who is the subject of the complaint. In most cases, the humane investigator first tries to rectify the situation by educating the pet owner about how to provide better care for the animal(s). If the situation does not improve, the police will become involved, and a search warrant may be obtained. In some criminal cases, animals may be seized as part of the investigation.

What can I do to help?

  • Educate yourself about Vermont’s animal cruelty laws at
  • Report any suspected case of animal cruelty or neglect to the appropriate agency (see above).
  • Be outspoken about animal cruelty and neglect. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors. Write letters to local newspapers.
  • Sign up with the Windham County Humane Society to foster an animal in the event of an emergency.
  • Donate to the Windham County Humane Society. Your support makes the cruelty/neglect investigations and proper enforcement possible.