Language Translation
  Close Menu

Animal Care and Welfare

Indiana's Animal Care Laws-Frequently Asked Questions

Livestock and Poultry Care Law

Animal Care & Welfare Resource Materials

Report a Case of Animal Neglect or Abuse

Concerns involving dogs, cats and other pets should be reported to local animal control and law enforcement agencies.

Concerns involving livestock, horses and poultry should be reported to local law enforcement and the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Animal Welfare/Dead Animal Complaint Form

Livestock, Horses and Poultry

In cases involving livestock (which includes horses) and poultry, BOAH does have jurisdiction to enforce the agency's standards of care (345 IAC 14). In addition, BOAH may refer a case to local law enforcement on investigations with violations of the state animal cruelty law (IC 35-46-3).

Suspected cases/complaints may be submitted to BOAH online at, by phone at (877) 747-3038, or via e-mail at Complaints must include contact information for the submitter to allow appropriate follow-up to gather further information. Anonymous complaints are not accepted.  

Complaints submitted to BOAH are investigated by a compliance staff member, in cooperation with the local law enforcement agency for the area of the incident. Individuals submitting complaints will not be notified of the outcome of the investigation. 

Dog, Cats and Other Small Animals

Enforcement of Indiana's neglect and abuse law for small (companion) animals falls to the jurisdiction of local law enforcement agencies. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) does not have the leading authority in these situations, except for licensed commercial dog breeding operations.  BOAH will assist local law enforcement in assessing animals and their living conditions when requested.  BOAH will also evaluate the condition of the animals when requested by the court with jurisdiction if charges are filed under the animal cruelty law (IC 35-46-3).

To report suspected abuse and/or neglect, contact your local animal control agency, if your city/county has one (many do not).  Often, animal control is a part of the sheriff's department.  

If that is unsuccessful, you should contact your local police/sheriff department.  This is not always successful, as law enforcement agencies are tasked with many duties and must set priorities.  You may need to contact a local, elected city/county official for assistance or guidance.

Pet Shops and Kennels

Currently, pet shops, boarding kennels and similar businesses are not licensed/regulated specifically by the state of Indiana. Some local communities/counties may have regulations that apply.  Your best bet is to contact your local government (city and/or county) clerk's office for guidance.  Many communities have zoning requirements or sanitation standards through the local health department. 

Commercial Dog Breeders and Brokers

Since 2010, the Board of Animal Health has registered commercial dog breeders and brokers to ensure animal care and welfare standards are met. Information about Indiana's commercial dog breeder and broker program is online:

Livestock Markets

In January 1998, the Board of Animal Health revised the rules regulating livestock dealers and markets.  A new section in the rule addresses the care and handling of livestock at markets in Indiana.

Care and Handling of Livestock

Every person licensed to operate a market facility (including livestock auction markets, stockyards and concentration points) in Indiana must maintain a minimum standard of care for animals in that facility.  Livestock housed at a market for more than 24 hours must have access to feed and water.

Use of implements, such as electric prods, canes, whips, paddles or canvas straps, to drive animals must be limited only to the extent reasonably necessary to handle or drive livestock.

Non-Ambulatory Animals

Occasionally, because of illness or injury, individual animals arrive at a market conscious, but unable to walk or stand without assistance.

State law prohibits markets from accepting delivery of these nonambulatory (or "downed") livestock.  However, market facilities in Indiana may euthanize the animal.  

Markets must have written policies, procedures and equipment in place to handle animals that become nonambulatory after delivery to the facility.  

By law, livestock that becomes nonambulatory after arriving at a market facility must be disposed of within 24 hours of discovery or receiving of notice of the animal's condition. Click here for dead animal disposal requirements.

More information about handling techniques for nonambulatory animals and a livestock handling guide can be obtained from the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, 13570 Meadowgrass Drive, Suite 201, Colorado Springs, CO 80921, or online at

The Indiana BOAH recognizes the American Veterinary Medical Association's guidelines for euthanasia of animals. The guidelines are available in PDF format for viewing.