April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and SPCA Cincinnati has graciously provided the following information regarding contacting them with animal concerns.
* Please note that the information contained in this article is specific to Hamilton County Ohio. Other counties or municipalities may have different policies and procedures when handling animal concerns. Please consult with your local animal shelter or animal control agency for information on their policies and procedures.
In Hamilton County Ohio, SPCA Cincinnati is the agency that handles most animal complaints. We investigate cases involving dogs not being properly confined by their owners, stray dogs running at large without a known owner, animals in some sort of peril or distress and cases of neglect and animal cruelty. Other concerns involving animals are investigated on a case by case basis. Many investigations require the assistance of other agencies such as the local police department, health department or the Ohio Department Of Natural Resources.
SPCA Cincinnati is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for true emergencies and during regular business hours to receive calls for non emergency concerns. Our trained phone staff is available to discuss your concerns with you and decide if SPCA Cincinnati can help. Referrals and the contact numbers for other agencies are available if it is decided that your concern would be another agency's responsibility.
As with other law enforcement dispatch systems, calls for service have to be prioritized. Injured animals calls along with calls concerning animal bites (especially if the animal is still at large) receive a higher priority than a complaint, say, about a neighbor's dog that is not being fed properly, but the dog is not in distress.
We understand that often people are reluctant to call in an animal complaint because they fear retaliation from the animal's owner. We do understand these sensitivities, but we do like to obtain information such as the caller's name and phone number in case we have to call back for further information. This information is not released to the animal's owner. If the caller insists on anonynimity, we understand and will follow through with an investigation because we believe that the animal's welfare is paramount.
We encourage neighbors of pet owners and those in the community who may observe an animal on a regular basis, to be aware of the animal without snooping or intruding on the owner's privacy. Anything that seems not right, out of place or an animal that is clearly in distress should be reported. It is better to report a concern that turns out to be no problem than not to call in a concern that has merit and the animal continues to suffer or be a threat to the community.
Citizens should be patient with the process after they have called in their concern. An instant resolution to a problem is rarely achieved. It often takes multiple visits to the animal owner's residence before the issue is resolved. Often, it may take several visits just to find the owner at home and begin to discuss the concern with him/her and take a look at the animal/s at issue. Cases involving seizure of an animal and prosecution of the owner can take much longer because of court appearances and rehabilitation of the animal involved.
Finally, we at SPCA Cincinnati consider it a privilege to serve the animals and the citizens of our community. However, we could not serve without the vigilance and help of the citizens in Hamilton County. We much appreciate the help given to us by the community and we look forward to a continued, fruitful relationship to benefit and watch over our animal friends.
SPCA Cincinnati's main number is 513-541-6100. This is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week number. After hours, true emergency calls are routed to our friends at the Hamilton County Communications Center.
Education is the first step in pet poison prevention.
Pet owners should take the time to educate themselves on the various, sometimes unexpected, pet poisons in their environments. The Pet Poison Helpline provides an extensive list of poisonous items for pet owners to be aware of, but here are a few of the most common items seen by veterinarians:
Many people believe certain dog breed, such as huskies and malamutes, are capable of living outside all of the time because of their thick coats. However, no dog breed should be consistently left unprotected outside. According to the City of Cincinnati, when the temperature is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, a pet owner should not leave their dog outside for longer than sixty minutes without adequate shelter. For outside dogs, owners should provide a warm, dry, draft free shelter with fresh, unfrozen water. Heated water bowls are a great option to ensure consistent access to unfrozen water. Owners should also feed their outdoor dogs more during the winter because their bodies use more energy trying to keep warm. In 2016, the City of Cincinnati passed an ordinance with further restrictions and shelter guidelines for dog tethering and weather conditions, which can be found by clicking here
A common winter hazard that vets encounter consistently with cats is engine belt injuries. Cats will climb into cars to keep warm, and without knowing they’re there, people will start their cars and harm the cats. Before starting your car in the winter, it’s advised to give the car hood a few raps to make sure there are no cats cozied up inside.
Pets start an estimated 1,000 fires per year. While this isn’t a huge number, it’s easily preventable. Pet owners should identify the risks in their home and make sure they’re contained from pets. Risks to consider include, open flames such as candles, space heaters, stovetops, fireplaces, and frayed wires chewed by puppies.
Even if all fire hazards are contained from pets, there’s still always a chance of a house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) , there’s a home fire reported every 86 seconds in the United States. So while the hope is that you and your pets never have to face a fire, it’s important to have a plan.
In case of a fire, pet owners should hang window clings that let firefighters know there’s a pet in the home. The ASPCA offers a free Pet Fire Safety Pack that includes a window decal. When leaving home, pet owners should know where their pets are and keep them close to exits if possible. Pet owners should also consider investing in monitored smoke detectors that alert homeowners of a fire when they’re not home and automatically dispatch firefighters.
Getting your dog microchipped is an easy and relatively inexpensive procedure that drastically increases the odds that your pet will find its way home if it’s ever lost. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique identification number. It’s injected into a pet’s skin between the shoulder blades on their back. When scanned with an electric scanner, the chip will show the unique identification number and manufacturer of the microchip. This unique identification number will be linked to the pet owner’s contact information in the microchip manufacturer’s database.
If a stranger ever finds your dog, a shelter or veterinarian can scan your pet for a microchip. Once they have the identification number and manufacturer from the chip reading, they will call the manufacturer in search of the pet owner’s contact information. Therefore, if a dog owner moves or changes their contact information, it’s extremely important for them to update the contact information associated with their pet’s microchip identification number.