Humane Investigations

In 2004, in response to the ever-increasing number of animal neglect and abuse complaints coming to our shelter, Homeward Bound established the first Anti-Cruelty Coalition in the State of Vermont.  The Homeward Bound Cruelty Response Program was designed, and continues to serve, as the central clearing-house for animal cruelty complaints in Addison County and functions as the coordinating entity for investigation and intervention.   As a result of the success of our Cruelty Response Program, this model has been adopted by the Vermont Humane Federation (VHF) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as statewide initiative to combat animal cruelty in Vermont.

The primary goal of the Cruelty Response Program is to promote and foster the humane treatment of all animals in Addison County and aggressively strive to eliminate all animal cruelty actions in the County.   To this end, Homeward Bound functions as a resource for community members to report cases of known or suspected animal abuse or neglect and works collaboratively with local law enforcement to investigate such cases in an objective, professional and informed manner.  Additionally, Homeward Bound provides information and education to owners whose actions indicate unintentional neglect and offers supportive services to rectify such situations.   Lastly, Homeward Bound provides emergency relief to animals found to be in life-threatening situations and facilitates placement into loving and permanent homes for such animals.   Since inception of the program, Homeward Bound has fielded over 800 cruelty complaints (often involving multiple animals) throughout Addison County Vermont

How to Report Known or Suspected Cruelty or Neglect
Each year, our staff responds to as many as 75 -100 reports of suspected cruel and inhumane treatment of animals in Addison County.

In Addison County: If you witness or suspect the inhumane treatment of an animal, please call us at 802-388-1100 or file a report online at

Outside of Addison County:  Please call the local shelter or police department for that area to file a report.  You may also file an online report at and it will be forwarded to the local shelter in that area.  

IMPORTANT:  Regardless of location, if you believe that the animal is in immediate danger, please contact the Vermont State Police or your local law enforcement agency directly.

Additional Resources

To learn more about the Vermont Humane Federation’s Cruelty Response System project, please Click here: