If you see animal cruelty, neglect, or mistreatment

1. Gather as much information as you can about the situation. Take down addresses, names, license plate numbers — any information that would help law enforcement find individuals involved. It is ideal to take pictures or video of the situation. You should not enter private property to obtain these photos or other information, however.

2. Call local law enforcement. Make sure that you are specific in your complaint when you call. Give times, dates, and details of the conditions you have observed. Some areas have animal control numbers to call. Check the list below to see whether you are in an area with a specific animal control number. If you do not have animal control in your area, call the local police department to lodge your complaint.

3. Follow up with the condition of the animal. Many times law enforcement may be unable to act on the first instance they observe. However, conditions that continue to be substandard may eventually rise to the level of a violation of the law.

4. Familiarize yourself with applicable animal cruelty laws. Most animal cruelty laws are created by the state government; you can review Iowa’s laws on cruelty to animals other than livestock here and on cruelty to livestock here.

Possible puppy mill purchases

The most important thing to do when you have visited a poor breeding facility is to report it! Contact the state Department of Agriculture at (515) 953-0978 to report unsanitary conditions, unhealthy animals, and inadequate housing. If you have purchased an animal from a breeder that is unhealthy, you may also lodge a complaint with the attorney general’s office.

Please consider adopting one of the millions of animals that are euthanized each year before purchasing an animal. If you do purchase an animal, visit the facility where the animal is coming from and meet the parents of your new pet. Do not trust a facility that will not show you its entire breeding operation.

Animal control phone numbers

Des Moines: (515) 284-6905

Johnston: (515) 278-2345

West Des Moines, Urbandale, and Clive: (515) 222-3321

Polk City: (515) 984-9280

Windsor Heights: (515) 279-3362; after hours, call (515) 286-3333

Altoona: (515) 967-4281; after hours, call (515) 286-3333

Mitchellville: (515) 967-9289

All other areas in Polk County: (515)-286-3333

Ames: (515)-239-5530