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Dealing with Animal Complaints

Animal complaints can get ugly. When you have multiple animals of any kind, especially if breeding, it becomes a point that animal complaints can be a personal attack. We take threats to our animals seriously, and for those of us who love our animals it can be a personal attack of sorts. Increasingly when disagreements happen between neighbors, or family members, as well as many other situations the disagreements don’t have to be about the animals to involve the animals.

An example might be neighbors with a property line dispute…rather than dealing with where to put a fence a neighbor decides the point of attack might be your cats

The next thing you know animal control is knocking on the door with reports that might vary from neglect to abuse of the animals and sometimes the “collecting” or “hoarding” of cats or other animals. These can open a breeder to legal charges as well as result in the loss of animals and harassment far beyond the original issue.

Sadly some people use animal complaints as weapons to get back at you. A neighbor who wants something that you don’t agree to can find leverage in saying they saw an injured cat, or that they smelled feces. It takes but one complaint to set things in motion to where, if you are not prepared, cats can be and often are removed to an animal control facility. There they are spayed or neutered and ‘adopted’ out where you are not entitled to have any contact with the animals again.

How To Deal With Animal Complaints

  • If you have more animals than are allowed, if animals don’t have rabies vaccinations or other licensing required this can make a bad situation go to worse. 
  • Don’t rely on show champions and winnings to save you as sometimes that can work against you in the media.
  • There are areas that see anyone who breeds as a kitten/puppy/bunny mill. These are portrayed as places that churn out babies solely for profit, while some activists admit that anyone who breeds for any reason is a mill. 
  • The media can be decidedly unkind in some areas.

Know your legal requirements and know your rights! You do not have to let animal control officers into your home without a warrant. However, anything they see from an uncovered window or door can be used against you if it’s bad.

  • If you happen to have an agency that is against breeding you can expect any empty water bowl (even if tipped and still wet), empty food dish (even if feeding measured amounts) and dirty litter box to be used against you.
  • Be prepared with documentation including health records and any paperwork required by law. 
With animals truly in good condition, especially if the complainant hasn’t seen the animals, puts points in your favor. This is one reason to never give “buyers” or other people free access to your cattery. If the health reasons don’t do it for you consider this: in some areas animal control agents and animal rights activists pose as buyers.

Either has the backing to take your cats even if they are primarily pets. This has happened increasingly with dog and cat breeders as well as breeders of other species. A means of disagreement is a source for harassment and when animals are the source of harassment often the animals lose.

  • Volunteer no information and remember in the US you have the right to not say anything. 
  • Realize also that if you get a visit from animal control and they think they have something they can and will be back. 
  • Use the time to contact your lawyer and get anything out of order in shape before their return.

It’s an unfortunate world when people use animal complaints as an attack point but whether you are a breeder or simply someone with multiple pets never underestimate the ways people will use them as a point of harassment. In urban areas it pays to keep them in, keep the activities discreet and limit the visitors. Your animals depend on it.

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