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San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
California Animal LawsReporting Animal Cruelty

California Animal Laws

Reporting Animal Cruelty

California Animal Laws

  • You must provide food, water, shelter, and proper veterinary medical care for your animal.

  • If you chain or tie out your animal, it must not entangle with any object or cause a dangerous situation for the animal. The lead must be long enough to provide an exercise area. The animal must be able to reach food, water and shelter. Food and water containers must not be able to be tipped over.

  • Do not leave your animal inside an unattended vehicle without adequate ventilation. Even on a cool day, an animal left in a vehicle in the sun could be subjected to extreme temperatures.

  • Animals carried in the back of pick-up trucks must be safely enclosed within a secured cage, cross tether, harness or other device that will prevent the animal from falling, jumping or being thrown from the truck in an accident.

  • If you hit an animal with your vehicle, you are required to stop and give assistance to the animal. You are also required by law to notify the police or sheriff and attempt to contact the owner of the animal.

  • It is a crime to abandon an unwanted animal. If you are unable to find a home for your animal, take it to the San Diego Humane Society and S.P.C.A. or your local animal control facility.

  • Maliciously neglecting, harming, killing or poisoning an animal can be charged as a felony and may carry a penalty of one year or more in state prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

To report animal neglect or abuse, call 1-800-98-ABUSE, or click here to complete an online form.


Serving San Diego County for over 123 years, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA provides vital services to animals and people alike through sheltering and adopting animals, providing positive reinforcement behavior training for adoptable animals and for owned animals through public training classes, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, providing adult and youth education programs, sharing animals through pet-assisted therapy and rescuing animals in emergency situations.

A private nonprofit organization that receives no public or government funding, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA is supported solely by contributions, grants, bequests, investments, proceeds from the society’s antique consignment store in La Jolla (Glorious Antiques) and some fees for service.

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
5500 Gaines Street
San Diego, CA 92110

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No-Kill NOW!  P.O. Box 217,  Etiwanda, CA 91739-0217
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