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What to do if you suspect animal abuse or neglect

Report Horse Abuse and Neglect the first time you see it!

Note: Equine Rescues do not have the authority to seize animals, only Animal Control and Law Enforcement have that authority.

Don’t wait for someone else… Report Animal Abuse and Neglect!

Document and report everything as well as you can. Take note of times, dates, descriptions of animal and its environment, exact location, trouble signs, etc. Write detailed (and non emotional) facts of the case. Take photos if possible – Be Safe!  Don’t Trespass! Don’t attempt to photograph if your safety is questionable.

The more information you have, the more likely quick action will be taken.

  • When assessing the condition of the horse, many other factors aside from weight must be considered:
    • Is the coat of the animal dull, filthy and unkempt?
    • Does the animal suffer from muscular atrophy?
    • Are the hooves cracked, split, or curling upward at the toe?
    • Can you see open wounds or sores that appear to be untreated?
    • Is there no food or water source to be seen? Is the food or water source fresh?
    • Is the animal’s environment hazardous (junk on the ground, nails protruding from fencing, etc.)?
    • If the horses are corralled or stalled, are there several weeks accumulation of manure present?
    • Have you personally witnessed someone physically abusing a horse?
  • Be ready to give them location details:
    • Address, mile markers, City
    • Loation on the property in questions: behind the barn, northeast corner of the south pasture, etc.

Call your local sheriff’s office on their non-emergency line as soon as possible. Tell the dispatcher at this non-emergency line that you’re reporting a possible case of animal neglect/abuse. Don’t exaggerate the number of animals involved or their condition – give only the facts as you see them.

Ask to have the deputy/police officer contact you once the animal has been checked. Ask for a case number and write down it down.  Reference it later when you follow up. The case number will be something similar to 12-12345.

Just to be safe, confirm with the dispatcher which agency will be investigating your complaint.

Follow up! Find out what action has been taken. Law enforcement agencies can be very busy; make sure action has been taken!


Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office  Non-Emergency (541) 693-6911



If you have questions about livestock found on your property, or that you have lost, you can contact the Oregon Brand Inspector at