The Process

The Complaints

Complaints are received by HAHS by phone, fax, mail or e-mail. Once the complaint is processed and given a number, it will be sent to the closest investigator. Most complaints can be grouped into one of the following categories:

  • Caller not knowledgeable: The caller's concerns are sincere but unfounded. Perhaps the animals are in a muddy paddock or are full of burrs. Sometimes people get upset when they see animals out in mud or covered with snow when, in fact, the animals are healthy and have access to food, water, and shelter.
  • Neighborhood grudges: Very often the animals involved are in good health but neighbors who are upset over the actions of horse owners are using the humane society to vex them. These cases are most often resolved quickly.
  • Genuine humane cases: Animals will appear thin or starving or ill. We act immediately if the animals are in poor shape or if there are no visible signs of food, water, or shelter or if they are abandoned or down.

The Approach

If the animals appear to be healthy, with evidence of fresh water, food and adequate shelter, we assure the people that they are doing a good job.

If the animals appear to be in a borderline area, we chat with the owner about nutrition, housing, foot care and other management topics. We also encourage them to contact a veterinarian for advice on deworming, vaccinations, teeth care and other health topics. A follow-up visit ensures that the owners listened to our recommendations. Depending on the severity of the case, we may or may not write a Notice of Violation of the Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act.

There may be some occasions when critical cases demand immediate action, such as when animals have been completely abandoned. HAHS works with the Department of Agriculture, local law enforcement and local veterinarians to quickly and legally provide for the health and well-being of these animals.

The Solution

If the owners cannot or will not comply with our recommendations under the Act or officials determine that the case is critical, an impoundment number is assigned by the Department of Agriculture and HAHS assumes ownership of the animals.

Usually, the animals will be taken to the HAHS farm for further examination, improved nutrition and medical treatment. However, if the case is based in the central or southern portions of the state, we may ask a volunteer to foster the animals until they can be safely transported to the HAHS farm. Once rehabilitated, both physically and mentally, the animals are placed up for adoption and matched to the most appropriate, knowledgeable homes.