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Animal Welfare Complaint Form

NC DOJ Animal Welfare Hotline

Cruelty toward animals is illegal under North Carolina law. The NC Department of Justice Animal Welfare Hotline was created by state law to take complaints about possible mistreatment of animals.  

The NC Department of Justice does not investigate animal cruelty cases. If you have information about animal cruelty or neglect, we ask that you first contact your local animal control office or local Sheriff’s department. If you have already done this, you can report animals experiencing physical harm under the care of an individual, pet shop, kennel, or animal shelter to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Animal Welfare Hotline by calling our toll-free number or filling out the Animal Welfare Complaint form below.  

Under North Carolina law, acts of animal cruelty include:

  • Wounding,
  • Tormenting,
  • Killing,
  • Depriving an animal of necessary nourishment,
  • Or causing any of these things to occur to an animal.

Complaints against Public and Private Animal Shelters, Boarding Kennels, Pet Shops and Public Auctions should be directed to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

What Happens with your Complaint

Our office will review your complaint to determine if the allegations involve animal cruelty.  If our office determines that it is animal cruelty, then we will refer the complaint to the appropriate authority. The NC Department of Justice does not investigate or prosecute animal cruelty cases but depending on the details of the complaint, your local animal control office, local Sheriff, or the NC Department of Agriculture may have the authority to take action.


The NC Department of Justice does not investigate animal cruelty cases. If you are seeking follow up information on your complaint, please contact your local animal control office or local law enforcement agency directly.

Additionally, our office is unable to process anonymous complaints. If a valid phone number or contact information is not provided on the form, our office is unable to forward the complaint along to the correct agencies. 

Animal Welfare Hotline

Call us at 1-855-290-6915 toll-free within North Carolina

Animal Welfare Complaint Form

A “Save and Continue” link is included next to the submit button at the bottom of this form. Clicking “Save and Continue” will allow you to save your progress, and return at a later date to complete the form.

For immediate response, please contact your local animal control office.

Please note that we are not able to process anonymous complaints.

  • Reporter Information

  • Information of Person or Organization the Complaint is Against

  • Type of Animal

  • Complaint Information

  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Important Information

    • Documents provided to this office may be public record.
    • Please be sure to include copies of any supporting documents you may have, such as photographs.
    • This office does not have the authority to give private legal advice or provide private legal representation to individual consumers.
    This information I have provided is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge

If you want to send the complaint by mail, you can find a copy of the Animal Welfare Complaint Form here.

Mail to:
Animal Welfare Program
Office of the Attorney General
P.O Box 629
Raleigh, NC 27602

How to Contact Local Authorities

You are also welcome to share your animal cruelty concerns directly with your city or county animal control or Sheriff’s Office.

Watch Attorney General Josh Stein’s video about animal cruelty and how to report it.