Your Voice for the Animals the Iowa County Humane Officer
We may not be on national TV but Iowa County has dedicated, caring animal welfare professionals available to help animals in need.  A state certified Humane Officer is on staff at the Iowa County Sheriff Department to provide the following services:

  1. animal abuse and neglect investigations
  2. emergency assistance to law enforcement agencies
  3. dog licensing education and enforcement
  4. humane education programs

Local law enforcement is responsible for animal control issues such as:

  1. stray animals running at large
  2. wild or domestic nuisance animal issues
  3. barking dogs

Many people question whether they should report situations concerning suspected animal cruelty or neglect. We believe that there is no excuse for abuse. Some things to consider when you suspect animal cruelty or neglect are:

  1. Cruelty consists of a wide range of behaviors which put animals in harm's way. Some is intentional while some is not.
  2. Most complaints investigated are situations where the neglect is unintentional and can be resolved through educating the animal's owner.
  3. Many people have different standards of care for their pets and may not love or care for their animal as you do your own pet. That does not necessarily mean that they are neglecting their pets. Basic animal care guidelines are provided by state law and local county ordinances and it is up to law enforcement, animal care professionals such as veterinarians and the court system, when necessary, to determine if a case is actual abuse/neglect. Chapter 951 in Wisconsin statutes outlines animal abuse and neglect issues.
  4. State law requires that animals must have food, water, veterinary care and adequate shelter. This does not mean that an animal must have food available at all times. Adequate shelter can vary between animal species, while a dog requires some type of physical shelter, a horse or cow may be fine with natural forms of shelter such as windbreaks provided by hills.
  5. Children who abuse animals may have parents who are not aware of what their child is doing. Animal abuse has been linked to other types of abuse such as domestic violence and child abuse.

If you see or suspect an animal is being neglected or abused, report it immediately to either the County Humane Officer or local law enforcement. A visit will be made to determine what needs to be done. Most situations are usually cases of owners not understanding how to properly provide for their pets' needs. Education and follow up usually provides a resolution of the problem. In some cases where owners fail or refuse to comply, citations and fines may result. In the most extreme cases, an owner may be charged in court if there is sufficient evidence.

If you report a suspected neglect situation, we will need the following information:

  1. Animal owner's address with directions to the location
  2. Name of the animal owner, if known
  3. Description of the animal including breed, age, size, color, sex and any other information that can help identify the animal
  4. Number and descriptions of any other animals at the location
  5. What type of problem was witnessed including dates and times
  6. Is this an emergency?
  7. Your name and phone number in case additional information is needed. You can remain anonymous however this makes prosecution of cases more difficult if they need to be taken to court

Animals cannot speak out for themselves. It is important to report abusive and neglectful situations as soon as you see them. The longer that you wait, the longer that animal is kept in a harmful situation. Even if the situation is not a serious one, a visit from the Humane Officer can help provide a better environment for the animal and hopefully help the owner do a better job in the future of caring for any animals that he/she may have.