Stray Dogs and Reporting Animal Abuse

PAWS does not have legal authority to investigate or prosecute cases of suspected animal abuse. We strongly urge you to report all suspected animal abuse to the appropriate authorities. Knowing who to call in urgent or tense situations like these can be confusing, so we've outlined it below.

  • Your first call in cases of suspected animal abuse or if you've found a dog running at large should always be to your local police. The Centre County District Attorney's office assures Centre County PAWS that municipal and state police can and should respond to calls about animal cruelty and animal related emergencies based on Crimes Code Section 5511. Numbers for Pennsylvania and State College residents are listed below. If you are not a resident of State College, a quick search online or check of the phone book should provide the correct municipal police non-emergency phone number.
    • Emergency: 911
    • State College Police (business hours): (814) 234-7100
    • State College Police (after hours): (800) 479-0050
    • State Police by County
  • Humane Officers by County – Some local rescue groups and police departments privately employ Humane Officers. They are authorized to enforce Crimes Code Section 5511 only and generally accept stray dogs.
  • State Dog Wardens by County – Dog wardens are responsible for enforcing the PA Dog Law. This includes overseeing dog licensing, rabies vaccination requirements for dogs and cats, dogs running at large, township ordinances, and commercial or non-profit kennel inspections. Dog wardens are not "on-call" but maintain office hours and do not respond to requests for assistance related to suspected cruelty (unless directly related to a kennel's care of their animals).
  • PSPCA Cruelty Hotline: (866) 601-7722,
  • Report suspected illegal puppy mills and animal fighting: (877) TIP-HSUS
  • Centre County District Attorney's office: oversees law enforcement in Centre County