The laws relating to the humane treatment of animals can be found in NDCC 36-21.1 and 36-21.2. The legal authority to investigate allegations of inhumane treatment belongs to local law enforcement agencies. The Board of Animal Health acts in an advisory capacity upon request. The Board of Animal Health is also responsible for approving veterinarians to investigate cases prior to animals being seized. If cattle, horses, or mules are to be seized, a brand inspector must be present to determine ownership.

If you are concerned that animals are being neglected or abused, please report that information to the local law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction over the area where the animals are located. The following recommendations will offer the best chance of a successful investigation:

  • The person who directly observed the animals should make the report.

  • Provide a complete address, legal land description, or very detailed directions to the location of the animals.

  • Provide the owner’s first and last name, if possible.

  • Provide as many details as possible regarding the number, type and physical description of the animals.

  • Describe the specific concern and when it was first noted.

Please remember that is trespassing to go onto private property without the owner’s permission.

Tips or reports regarding the animal abuse or neglect are given to the local law enforcement for the jurisdiction in which the reported animal abuse or neglect is or has occurred. If you are reporting a suspected animal abuse or neglect case you are not required to provide your name or other personal information; however, your failure to supply requested information may impede or preclude the investigation of your tip by law enforcement agencies. By voluntarily providing information through communications with law enforcement or the Animal Health Division, you are consenting to the use and maintenance of that information. Any information you provide, whether verbally, in writing, or electronically, may be used for investigative purposes and may be shared as required by law.

If you are reporting a crime or event that is being committed now, or it is time sensitive, please call your local law enforcement immediately. If you have an emergency, please call 911.

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