SPCA Monterey County — © 2024 All rights reserved.

Humane Investigations

SPCA Monterey County investigates reports of animal cruelty by choice because animals need us and because this work aligns with our nonprofit mission. We do not receive government funds or tax dollars for this work, and it is not required by law. This vital, compassionate and often heartbreaking work is only made possible by your donations.

Unlike the local police, we do not have officers patrolling the community; our work is aimed at complaints. Most of the animal care calls come from local residents. Annually, we receive nearly 1,000 reports of suspected animal cruelty and neglect. We respond to all reports, but we must prioritize them. For example, emergencies involving live animals take precedence over calls involving deceased animals. Also, unlike the local police, we do not have officers assigned to each of the cities in our county. We have three sworn officers, one community service officer for all Monterey County cities and unincorporated areas (435,000 residents, 3,700 square miles). Our officers receive specialized training, including specific training for the successful prosecution of animal abusers and how to help animals in need. We take cases to the Monterey County District Attorney's Office when we have sufficient evidence of a crime and the person or persons responsible. All too often, we see sad situations related to the care of animals, but not all are those we can help given the existing laws. 

The SPCA is the only organization or agency in Monterey County that employs officers specifically trained for this job. Our officers focus on cruelty prevention; they are not responsible for animal control work such as responding to stray animal calls, calls about dead animals, loose animals on the roads, barking dogs, disruptive cats, reports of animal bites and attacks, etc. Animal control work is paid for by tax dollars and is the responsibility of officials who work for individual cities or Monterey County Animal Services, which covers all unincorporated areas in Monterey County. If you have a problem related to animal control, please contact your local Animal Control

Most of our work is related to California Penal Code 597; most of our cases involve people who harm animals inadvertently more often those who do it maliciously and intentionally. Cases involving involuntary negligence can often be resolved by our officers through education.

SPCA humane officers obtain their authority from California Corporation Code 14502, and exercise the powers of a peace officer while investigating any crime involving animals. All of these services are made possible by the generous support of our donors, the support of our community, and those who report suspected animal abuse and neglect to us.

Suspected animal neglect and abuse can be reported here or by calling 831-373-2631. All reports are considered completely confidential and will not be shared without your permission. We ask for your contact information in case we need additional information; however, you can remain confidential if you wish.

SPCA humane officers respond to reports and investigate cases such as:

  • Animal poisoning
  • Malicious & intentional abuse
  • Deprivation of food, shelter or water
  • Illegal animal fighting
  • Allowing sick and injured pets to go without veterinary care.
  • Animal Abandonment
  • Animal hoarding
  • And more

If you ever have a concern about how an animal is being treated, please contact us. We are here to help.