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What to do when a cat, dog or horse is in trouble in Georgia

Georgia Companion Animal Advocacy


First, thank you for caring about animals.  If more of us did that, our state would be much better off.  Second, since we are not Law Enforcement, we can only help in bad situations when you have already reported it to Law Enforcement multiple times.

Laws that protect Georgia's dogs are complaint-based.  This means any possible crime against a dog that has been witnessed must be reported to Law Enforcement for anything to be done.


To report an animal in trouble you need to:


1)  first contact Law Enforcement, which, depending on where you live should be either:

  • the Animal Control Agency responsible for the area in which the situation is occurring, or

  • the Police or Sheriff's Department for the area in which the situation is occurring.

  • If a horse or horses are the issue, log a complaint on the GA Dept. of Ag website:  Reporting Animal Cruelty | Georgia Department of Agriculture

2)  provide Law Enforcement with all the relevant information:

  1. description or narrative of what you have witnessed,

  2. address of situation,

  3. dates it has occurred, and

  4. pictures or video as evidence if you have either or both.

  5. list of local animal ordinance violations or state laws being broken, if you know what they are.

  6. Keep a record of your logged complaints (date, time, who you spoke to) 

  7. Follow up!

  8. If after reporting the situation more than 2x, nothing is done, then reach back out to us with all info above and we'll try to help.

3)  Know the local ordinance for your jurisdiction because we find that you having that knowledge as a "reporter" ensures follow up and accountability by Law Enforcement.   You can make them aware that YOU know what is being done is in fact against the law and you are going to hold them accountable. See the GA Municode website or your local government county or city website.  Georgia | Municode Library


4)  Know that even if a specific ordinance rule isn't being broken, Georgia has a state animal cruelty statute that covers egregious inhumane situations, punishable by misdemeanor or felony charges, making the lack of a local ordinance rule no excuse for Law Enforcement not to act.  Georgia also has a statute that makes abandoning an animal illegal!


numbers 3 and 4 above are discussed in detail on our website:


Georgia's Animal Welfare Laws | Georgia Companion Animal Advocacy | GCAA


Georgia's Animal Ordinances | GA Companion Animal Advocacy (


Good luck!  And thank you for what you are doing for that animal.

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