Humane Investigators are appointed by the Circuit Court of the counties they serve in to investigate reports of animal cruelty and neglect and to enforce the Virginia State Anti-Cruelty Laws. Humane Investigators are volunteers, and may be contacted when citizens see a situation that needs to be corrected involving abuse or neglect of an animal.
The SPCA of Northern Virginia is the only rescue organization in the area with a Humane Investigator. Many of our dogs come to us as a result of humane investigations. Our Humane Investigator is certified only in Fairfax County but will be glad to assist you with guidance and advice if you suspect or see animal cruelty, neglect, abuse, or abandonment in another area.
If you would like to contact our Humane Investigator, please email: email@example.com,, or call 703-799-9390 and select option #1. Animal Control services for your jurisdiction can also provide you with assistance.
Housing Department Asks For Guidance
This summer the Fairfax County Housing Department approached us with the request for a speaker who could provide information on animal situations found in their line of work.
We have successfully handled several neglect cases for them within the last two years: one involved nine pit bulls living in outside pens that were incredibly filthy, belonging to a man who wasn’t supposed to be living there. Another concerned an elderly woman who was a hoarder and had seven cats that were allowed outside, all without shots and not spayed or neutered. She started out with one female, but then the neighborhood Tom came by. Well – you know what happened after that.
Housing Inspectors, who check on people living in subsidized homes or apartments, sometimes come across animal situations which seem unacceptable to them. We came to inform them what to look for and when to file a complaint.
One of our Humane Investigators made a presentation to fifteen inspectors. They received a packet of information which contained some of the following subjects:1. How to tell if an animal might need veterinary care.
2. Guidelines for proper care: shelter, water, food, cleanliness, space, veterinary care.
3. Signs to watch for when you suspect neglect or abuse.
4. Dog and cat body condition information: from too thin, to ideal, to too heavy.
5. Animal hoarding – a mental illness.
It was pointed out that the Virginia State Law requires a tethered animal to have a tether which is at least three times the length of the animal, as measured from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail.
Each subject was discussed, and the presentation was followed by a question and answer period.
We encouraged the inspectors to call us, even if they were not sure they were dealing with a legitimate complaint.
We would rather check on an invalid complaint than miss one that is valid.
If you would like to contact one of our HIs, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 703-799-9390 and select option #1.