Thank you everyone for your support and your questions! Please note that while we have tried to provide answers to some commonly asked questions regarding animals in the cold weather, we acknowledge that there is a gap in services during overnight hours. We continue to work with partners to find a solution to help those animals in need.
What does the temperature have to be for you to seize an animal?
Ohio law does not specify either high or low temperatures that make it illegal to have an animal outside. We are only able to legally seize an animal in two instances: with a search and seizure warrant or if the circumstances meet the definition of exigency.
Search and Seizure Warrant – Ohio code 2933.31.
As humane agents, we have the ability to enter a property, to remove an animal or animals, with a search and seizure warrant obtained through the court system. To protect citizens’ rights, a law enforcement agency must demonstrate significant evidence and justification to remove an animal, which is considered property.
Exigency essentially means that an animal is in an immediately life-threatening condition. It is determined on a case-by-case basis – after examining the condition and alertness of the animal, wounds, length of time that an incident is taking place, credibility of evidence and witnesses, and responsiveness of owner. *Please note in most extreme weather cases, we are typically successful in getting an owner to immediately bring the animals indoors or remedy the situation in another way.
That being said there is a law that protects Good Samaritans when helping a child or an animal locked in a car in extreme heat. The Good Samaritan must call 911 and prove that danger is involved before accessing the vehicle.
The City of Columbus does have an anti-tethering ordinance. You can read more about that ordinance here.
How many Humane Agents do you have and when do they perform their duties?
We have seven Humane Agents on our teams with three vehicles out in the field at any given time. We are able to provide one shift to respond to and investigate calls, 365 days a year – currently running 30-40 calls a day. We are non-profit organization with law enforcement responsibilities. 92% of our funding comes from individual donations and fees for services, such as adoptions. While we would love to provide services 24 hours a day, we simply do not have the funding to do so. Running a 24-hour response center would mean not only additional humane agents but also more medical and animal care staff. We bring in 1200-1500 animals annually through Cruelty Investigations and provide services to many more. In addition to doing work in the field, our agents prepare cases, file charges and spend time in the courtroom to ensure successful prosecution.
How do I make a report?
You can call 614-777-7387 ext 250 to report suspected animal neglect or cruelty or file a complaint online at www.columbushumane.org. You should receive a response from our team if you are filing a report. Please do not use Facebook to file complaints. The people that monitor Facebook are not humane agents. It is best for everyone if there is a direct line of communication between those filing a report and those receiving it. During business hours, if you have not heard back from our humane agents or cannot get through for some reason, then feel free to let us know on Facebook messenger or email@example.com.
Messages can still be left after hours but unfortunately, we are not able to respond. You can also direct calls to police with the jurisdiction in the area where the instance is taking place.
What happens when I make a report? What is needed?
All reports are logged in a database system and then prioritized based on the seriousness of the issue. In these weather conditions, calls are being prioritized for animals that have no shelter. Please note that most reports have multiple follow-up calls/visits associated to ensure owners maintain compliance.
All reports are confidential. Please be prepared to share your name, phone number, the address of the suspected activity or as close to it, and specifics on the activity. Without a direct eye witness, some cases cannot be prosecuted.
My dog loves to spend time playing in the snow and cold weather. Will I get in trouble? Will someone take my pet?
Great! Dogs can still enjoy outdoor time but it should be for shorter periods of time and under observation. Keep outdoor exercise limited and watch for signs of discomfort.
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|Monday - Friday||2pm - 7pm|
|Saturday - Sunday||12pm - 5pm|
Animal Support Center
Admission services by appointment only
Same-day appointments may be available
(614) 777-7387 ext. 208
Contact UsPhone (614) 777-7387 Fax (614) 777-8449
Hilliard OH, 43026