Animal Cruelty Investigations

Investigating reports of animal cruelty is one of the toughest but one of the most vital parts of our mission.

The SPCA of Texas maintains an Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit with three full-time humane investigators, one chief investigator, one case manager and one dedicated veterinarian. The humane investigators respond to more than 3,000 cases of cruelty each year in Texas of which less than 20--less than one percent--are pursued with civil charges. The balance of the cruelty investigations are resolved through education and compliance.

Receiving an average of 3,000-5,000 calls a year from people who have seen or know about cases of animal cruelty, the Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit rescues approximately 3,000 animals in distress each year in a variety of Texas counties. The phone calls are requests for investigation because the animals don’t have water, food, shelter or care. Other calls often include cruel confinement or abuse concerns.

View data from Animal Cruelty Investigations in the City of Dallas.

Most animals investigated or rescued are dogs, cats, horses and cattle. Humane Investigators receive on-the-job training in animal cruelty investigations and continuing education of different varieties.

You can help the SPCA of Texas as we work to rescue animals from cruelty and abuse by making a gift today.

Create a team today for Strut Your Mutt, the Race to End Animal Cruelty, which takes place each Spring to help support our Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit.


Complete our Online Animal Cruelty Complaint form.

Our Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit focuses on these counties to better respond to animals in need: Dallas, Hunt, Kaufman & Van Zandt.

If the county you're referring to is outside our service area, you can help by contacting your local law enforcement. Texas law protects animals from cruelty and abuse. Your local law enforcement officials will be able to assist the animal(s) you're concerned about.


To help the SPCA of Texas' Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit serve the animals of North Texas, sponsor our efforts today.

We urgently need your support to ensure that we can continue our work on behalf of homeless and helpless animals. Care of rescued animals amounts to $800 per animal.

To help the SPCA of Texas fund future rescue operations and to support the SPCA of Texas' other programs and services, make a donation today.


In Texas, two types of laws protect animals from cruelty: civil laws and criminal laws. The laws are similar but differ in the penalties they impose.

In a civil case, if a judge rules that a person or people have been cruel to animals, the judge may take away their animals and/or order them to pay restitution.

If prosecuted in a criminal case, a person may face penalties including fines, jail or both.

Texas Health and Safety Code prohibits a person from intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cruelly treating an animal. The following actions define cruel punishment:

  • torturing an animal
  • failing to provide food, care or shelter
  • abandoning an animal; transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner
  • killing, seriously injuring or poisoning an animal
  • causing an animal to fight with another
  • using a live animal as a lure in a dog race
  • tripping a horse
  • injuring an animal belonging to another person
  • seriously overworking an animal

Our Rescue & Investigations team responds to animals in need in eight North Texas counties.

Our Animal Cruelty Investigations Unit responds to animals in need in North Texas counties.



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SPCA of Texas Voices

"I'm absolutely in LOVE with Kitty (formerly Kaleigh). I know her name isn't original at all but I just started calling her that until I could think of a name and it just stuck - it's so her! I've attached two photos - she's seriously the most beautiful kitty in the world! She loves to steal tennis balls and bones from her dog sister - she thinks she's a dog! She enjoys going for walks and car rides, snuggling with mom, bird watching, drinking from the sink, playing with her pipe cleaners and getting into mom's makeup in the mornings. I couldn't 'imagine life without her. She's the absolute best!"

Laureen Jankins

Pet Owner