Animal Cruelty/Neglect

Here are some frequently asked questions about animal abuse.

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A pet owner is responsible for ensuring their pet remains safe. Dogs who run loose can become lost, hit by cars, be stolen, become victims of other dogs or wildlife, be exposed to contagious disease or be subject to unintentional poisoning when digging through someone's trash. It is in your dog's best interest to keep them safe at home.

Our informational brochure for tips on keeping your dog home and safe.

Chaining Your Dog Is Not Recommended As A Primary Form of Confinement.

Chained up dog

Yes there are!  You can make a difference.  The black and white picture to the bottom left is of a very special dog named Sgt. Pepper. A report of his condition by a caring citizen resulted in an investigation, citations and a new home with a loving family. The picture of Sgt. Pepper a year later (bottom right), tells a different story of a happy, healthy and beloved pet.

 Under fed dog Abused dog 

Just as it can be a challenge to stay cool and comfortable in the hot weather, it can be equally as hard for our pets to stay warm and safe in cold weather. View our informational brochure on Cold Weather Pet Care Tips

Unfortunately, every year Mesa County Animal Services responds to calls where dogs have been left in a car on a warm or hot day. All too often, these cases result in a physically stressed animal, or worse yet, an owner who has to live with the responsibility that they caused the death of their beloved pet.

We are often asked by dog owners when it is acceptable to take their dog with them while they run errands, knowing they will leave their dog in the car for just a few minutes. Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer. Conditions vary and the temperature alone does not make the situation dangerous or safe.

The type and color of car, the breed, age and health of the dog, the conditions in which the dog is confined in the vehicle, the temperature along with the type of cloud cover and wind are all factors that can contribute to an unsafe situation. Conversely, if it is a cloudy, cold, winter day, then your dog may be perfectly safe and happy in the back seat of your car for a couple of minutes. Because weather conditions change quickly, we recommend that you always err on the side of caution and leave your dog at home on even moderately warm days in the spring, summer and fall. View our informational brochure on Dogs in Hot Cars.

It can be a challenge to stay cool and comfortable in hot weather. We, as humans, generally have the ability and resources to make choices for ourselves that allow us to live in comfort and safety.

We can put on shoes because the sidewalk is hot; We can turn on the cooler or fan because we are uncomfortably warm; We can go to the faucet and splash our face with cold water because we feel sweaty; We can retrieve a nice, cold bottle of water from the fridge because we are hot and thirsty; We can move to a shady part of the yard or go inside because the sun is to bright and hot. Unfortunately, dogs don't have the ability to do those tasks on their own. We, as responsible pet owners, need to make sure we provide the right environment so our dogs can stay safe and healthy. View our informational brochure on Hot Weather Pet Care Tips.

If you do not provide us with contact information, this report will remain anonymous. However, without a way to contact you we will be unable to clarify any questions we might have during our investigation. If you see an animal that you feel might not be receiving care that meets these guidelines, please phone us at (970) 242-4646, e-mail us or print the incident report and mail it to us at the address on the top of the report.


Every animal must be provided with water, food, protection from the elements, or other care generally considered to be normal, usual and accepted for an animal's health and well-being consistent with the species, breed and type of animal.

In order to start an investigation, we need the following information:

  • A physical address of where the animal can be seen

  • The animal(s) description

  • What you have seen that causes you concern for the animal's health and welfare.

Based on the information you provide, our officers will go out and observe the animal and the situation. The officer will determine whether or not the animal is in immediate danger. Fortunately, less than 5% of welfare checks result in citations. Ninety-five percent of our calls are handled through education, veterinary care or are determined to be unfounded.


When you report animal abuse or neglect, you are also promoting respect for all life. Humane care for animals improves the quality of life for everyone in Mesa County.