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Indiana State Board of Animal Health

BOAH > Licensing & Compliance > Compliance Issues > Animal Neglect and Abuse and Stray Animals in Indiana Animal Neglect and Abuse and Stray Animals in Indiana


Regulation of the treatment of animals takes place on the federal, state, and local level.

Indiana state law prohibits the following:

  1. Cruelty, abandonment, and neglect of animals.
  2. Acts of torture and physical abuse of an animal are a crime in Indiana. IC 35-46-3-12.
  3. Conducting, promoting, participating in, and attending an animal fighting contest are crimes in Indiana. IC 35-46-3-8 through IC 35-46-3-10.
  4. Neglect or abandonment of an animal is a crime in Indiana. IC 35-46-3-7. A court may permanently confiscate animals that are abused or neglected. IC 35-46-3-6.

Regulation of the treatment of animals in Indiana is not limited to state laws, counties may regulate animals. Animal shelters and animal control agencies are local institutions usually overseen by city or county government or a nonprofit organization.

The Board of Animal Health has limited jurisdiction in animal abuse and neglect matters. BOAH will assist law enforcement officials in their investigation these crimes and provide information and analysis to a court after an order has been issued.

To report a case of animal neglect or abuse: Contact the local animal control agency for the jurisdiction, if there is one (not all cities/counties have official animal control). In the absence of an animal control agency, contact the local sheriff's department or police agency to report. These agencies may submit an official request for the assistance of the Board of Animal Health.

For more information on procedures in abuse and neglect matters see IC 35-46-3.