Cruelty Response

 Lucy Mackenzie Humane Society is proud to partner with Windsor County law enforcement agencies to address instances of animal neglect and cruelty.

What is Cruelty?
Animal cruelty encompasses a range of behaviors from neglect to malicious harm. Most cases of cruelty are unintentional neglect that can be resolved through educating owners and providing some resources.

Intentional cruelty or abuse is knowingly depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, socialization, or veterinary care; or maliciously torturing, maiming, mutilating, or killing an animal.

The state of Vermont has specific definitions of animal cruelty, as well as a process for reporting incidents. To learn more about Vermont’s animal cruelty laws visit:

VT Statutes: Title 13, Chapter 8, Humane and Proper Treatment of Animals

VT Statutes: Title 13, Chapter 9, Animals

Often what we would like to see is not what the law requires. For example, it is legal in Vermont to leave an animal outside on a chain, day or night. The statutes dictate
access to shelter, food, water and exercise as well as length of the chain. It does not dictate that the animal be brought indoors for the evening even when the temperature drops.


Reporting Animal Cruelty and Neglect

If you believe a situation involving an animal is in violation of the law, please file your complaint with the law enforcement agency that serves the town where the animal is residing. We will work with the law enforcement agency to provide support and care for the animals if requested.

– Vermont State Police (Royalton Barracks): 802-234-9933

– Windsor County Sheriff’s Department: 802-457-5211

– Town of Windsor Police Department: 802-674-9042

– Town of Weathersfield Police Department: 802-674-2185

– Town of Springfield Police Department: 802-885-2113

– Town of Chester Police Department: 802-875-2035


** If an animal is in immediate danger and you cannot reach an Animal Control Officer or a local law enforcement agency, please contact the Vermont State Police at 802-234-9933 or the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department at 802-457-5211.**

What happens When I Report Animal Cruelty or Neglect?
When an animal cruelty or neglect report is made, the town’s Animal Control Officer or law enforcement agency should visit the animal owner who is the subject of the complaint. In most cases, the ACO first tries to rectify the situation by educating the pet owner about how to provide better care for the animal(s). If the situation does not improve, a ticket may be issued or a search warrant may be obtained. You can remain anonymous anytime you register a report of cruelty or neglect.
What Can I Do to Help?
• Educate yourself about Vermont’s animal cruelty laws (see links above).
• Report any suspected case of animal cruelty or neglect to the appropriate agency. Do your research first – an Animal Control Officer cannot investigate if they don’t have an accurate address.
• Be active at the town level. Real cruelty or neglect is a crime and, as such, needs to be investigated by law enforcement or an Animal Control Officer. Find out if your town has the means to investigate reports of cruelty and neglect and to enforce the laws. If they don’t, work to ensure your town hires and trains an Animal Control Officer.