How to Report Abuse or Neglect in Dogs

What to do if you know of a neglected dog on a chain, in a pen, in a yard, in a garage or a shed or a basement. Please also report other suffering animals to us, such as horses, so they can be helped before starving or being killed by the SPCA as dogs in poor condition still sometimes are and dogs who exhibit any behaviours the SPCA itself says are dangerous, the dog is almost always killed. For this reason, rescuers have to take their own action to make sure that doesn't happen to the innocent victims.


Do not approach the owners of a neglected dog. Appealing to the owner's non-existent compassion only makes the owner suspicious of you. Abusers do not change their behaviour because they are told to, no matter how nicely. Unless you have heard otherwise, neglectors seldom let you have or buy their dog. It is risky to let an animal neglector know who you are. Do not report more than once to the SPCA. Pressure can result in the dog being muzzled or given to a worse abuser.

  1. Watch the dog at various times of the day.
  2. Watch to see if the dog is out all night or in a garage or elsewhere.
  3. Look for feces and notice if there is the smell of urine. Look for flies.
  4. If the dog is tethered, is the tether attached to a collar or a choke chain?
  5. If you live in the neighbourhood, ask neighbours you know if they are concerned. If you can, find out as much of the history and if and how many times the dog has been reported to the SPCA.
  6. Do not repeatedly report the dog to the SPCA.  Visits from the SPCA can cause the owner to hand the dog over to the SPCA where it may fail its "behaviour test" and be killed (like the one it used to try to kill Cheech). Or the dog may be hidden in a garage, a basement or a shed. If there are barking complaints made, the dog may be further victimized by being muzzled. (Read just two stories.)

Video and photos are absolutely critical to confirm the report. For many good reasons, AAS can't accept reports without photos and/or video.
Photos and video too large to email can be sent via WeTransfer for free and without having to edit or compress. Here are the instructions for successfully using WeTransfer.

Yard dog documentation and report:
Paste the questions into an email to with the address of the dog in the subject line (if you can get the address, otherwise just the municipality). You may not be able to answer all the questions, or they may not all be applicable, but do the best you can. If possible, write your answers below the questions, in a different coloured font, such as red or blue that is easily read.

  1. What is the address of the dog(s) you are reporting?
  2. How many dogs are you reporting?
  3. What is the breed(s), age, sex, size, colouring of the dog(s)?
  4. How long has the dog (or dogs) been in this situation?
  5. Is the dog out at night also? If yes, can you say how you know?
  6. How much time does the dog spend outside?
  7. Is it tethered, loose, in a pen, in a garage, in a shed, in a basement, on a porch or balcony, etc?
  8. If in a pen or enclosure, how big is it?
  9. Can the dog(s) see out of its place of keeping or is its vision blocked?
  10. If tethered, how long is the tether and what is it made of?
  11. Is the tether wrapped around the dog's neck?
  12. Is there a choke chain around the dog's neck to which the tether is attached?
  13. Is the dog in danger of choking on its tether (i.e. can the dog get up high and possibly fall or jump and strangle itself?)
  14. Is there shelter?
  15. Is the shelter big enough for the dog to stand up in comfortably, and turn around without having to come outside?
  16. Is the shelter dry inside?
  17. Is it positioned to provide protection from wind and heat?
  18. Is the dog fed regularly? If not, is the dog thin?
  19. Is there clean water at all times?
  20. Is there excrement that the dog must live near or in?
  21. Is there a smell of urine?
  22. Is the dog dirty, matted, ill-looking, overgrown nails etc?
  23. Is the dog ever walked? How frequently?
  24. Have you witnessed it being beaten or yelled at?
  25. Is the dog ever muzzled?
  26. Describe its personality and temperament.
  27. Do you visit it? Talk to it? Feed it treats? (we are not asking you to do this at this time)
  28. Have you asked the owner if you can walk the dog? (we are not asking you to do this at this time)
  29. Have you asked the owner if you can buy the dog? (we are not asking you to do this at this time)
  30. Would you be able to foster the dog, or help find a foster home if you were given the dog?
  31. Have you reported this dog to the SPCA? (We are not asking you to do this before photographs are taken.)
  32. Which branch?
  33. How many times?
  34. When approximately?
  35. When was the most recent time you contacted the SPCA?
  36. What did the SPCA do or say to you?
  37. Have any of the neighbours reported this dog to the SPCA?
  38. Do you know if other dogs have been neglected at this address? If Yes, insert details here.
  39. You must take photos of the dog showing the tether, shelter, feces, overturned water dishes, etc and send them to us? Photos are VERY important. Any photo, even of the porch, or the pen, etc, is better than no photo. It is not possible for AAS to get to every dog reported to us, so the dog is counting on you to document its suffering.
  40. What is your name, address and phone number? Please tell us if you wish to be anonymous or if we have your permission to give your information to the BC SPCA who are not allowed to reveal your identity.

[ back to top ]