Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the purpose of a Cruelty Response System?

  • To educate the public about animal cruelty and encourage reporting.
  • To ensure that every complaint is investigated.
  • To improve communication, collaboration and resource-sharing between public and private agencies for animal-related emergencies.
  • To better document cases in order to support targeted public outreach and prevention programs.

What problems does the CRS intend to address?

Members of the public are not always sure who to call to report concerns. As a result, some incidents go unreported, while others are reported to multiple agencies at the same time.  A collaborative approach enables law enforcement experts, municipal officials and animal welfare experts to work together to build solid cases, without duplication of efforts.

Why do we need a “lead agency” in each county?

Having a lead in each county ensures that no complaint of cruelty and neglect falls through the cracks.  A big challenge facing our rural state is that the resources available to respond to these complaints at the local level (including manpower) vary widely from town to town. The lead agency’s role is simply to help fill in the gaps where local resources may be lacking.

Do ALL of the calls have to go to the lead agency?

Not necessarily. If your community members already know to call you when they are concerned about an animal, they will continue to do so. However having one contact number for each county will minimize confusion and create consistency.

The purpose of this program is to help animals and address cruelty as efficiently and effectively as possible, and the process should not result in a bottleneck of communication.  The people leading the CRS effort in each county are committed to working with all of their local stakeholders in order to come up with the very best solution for the animals in their communities.

Tell me about Animal Tracks, the new case management and reporting system. How secure is that information?

The case management and reporting system is designed to help agencies manage their cases in a professional, secure environment. It enables lead agencies to monitor cases, ensure they are resolved, document outcomes, and gather valuable information about the types of challenges their community faces with respect to animal welfare. Additionally, it helps streamline efforts on those cases where multiple agencies are involved. Complainants can remain anonymous if they wish.

What are the other benefits of Animal Tracks?

Previously, there was no means of collecting accurate statewide statistics about animal cruelty complaints. While law enforcement databases may have information about criminal activities, most humane enforcement activities do not rise to the level of criminal prosecution. Statewide statistics will help everyone understand the type and frequency of violations, as well as how many resources are being devoted to address animal cruelty here in Vermont.

How can the CRS help with animal emergencies?

Of all the reasons why it’s important for public and private agencies to pull together, the ability to respond effectively to animal emergencies tops the list. For example, no single individual or agency should be left to handle a hoarding situation on their own. Removing animals from dangerous situations involves extensive coordination of resources for the rescue, transportation, veterinary care, temporary housing, and ultimately, the adoption of animals.

How can the CRS help with prosecution?

Vermont State’s Attorneys have been enthusiastic about the CRS model since it fosters better communication between the public and private sectors, and can ultimately result in assembling stronger cases.

What training and resources are available?

The Vermont Animal Cruelty Task Force offers affordable humane investigation training and a comprehensive manual, How to Investigate Animal Cruelty in Vermont. The 32-hour training curriculum was developed in conjunction with the Vermont Police Academy.  The cruelty manual is provided as part of the training and may be purchased separately for $35 (click here for order form). It can also be downloaded free of charge here.

Humane Society of the United States, FAQs about Animal Cruelty