Humane Operations

humane operations

The Ohio Revised Code states that Humane Agents are appointed and employed by the county humane society. The JCHS Humane Agents are state trained; their appointments by the Humane Society are court certified and they are professional law enforcement with police powers. The goal of the Humane Agents is to make life better for the animals that need help, whether it is owner education or seizure of the animal.

Humane Agents are responsible for investigating animal abuse or neglect cases that have been reported by other law enforcement agencies or reported by concerned citizens. They investigate abuse or neglect reports on all species of animals to insure the animals involved are cared for properly according to the laws of the State of Ohio.

We are very proud of our Humane Agents and are pleased to say Jefferson County has a very effective Humane Operations Department. Animals have no voice to tell of their pain and suffering, please be that voice for the animals. If you suspect that someone is abusing, neglecting or has abandoned their pets, please contact us at  (740) 314-5583. Reports of animal abuse or neglect are treated as confidential.

how to recognizE ANIMAL CRUELTY

How do you know if an animal is being neglected, abandoned, or used for fighting? It is not always easy to know. In some instances, it could be abundantly clear, while in others you may only see signs over a period of time. Here are some warning signs that something could be amiss:

Animals in our community rely on all of us to ensure that they are not abandoned, neglected or mistreated.

Please make the  call!  Without phone calls from concerned citizens who report cruelty in their neighborhoods, we wouldn’t know about most instances of animal abuse. It starts with YOU — that’s why it’s so important to be that voice for a helpless animal.  

Provide as much information as possible when reporting animal cruelty. The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting an investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.


We’re lucky to have a community that cares deeply about the humane treatment of animals.  As a result we often get asked many questions about our Humane Operations Program.  Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

You must call the shelter directly.  We do not accept reports of animal cruelty via social media.

The Humane Agent works with domestic animals such as dogs and cats. She also has jurisdiction over large animals such as horses, cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep. 

Yes!  We must talk to you directly so that we can get all pertinent details but we will honor all requests to remain anonymous.

The Dog Warden is employed by Jefferson County and answers to the Jefferson County Commissioners. He/She is responsible for the licensing of the dogs and for dogs running at large. This is a full time job and the county provides him/her with a vehicle to drive to pick up dogs.

The Humane Officer is employed by JCHS, appointed by the probate court to investigate complaints of abuse, abandonment and neglect. He/She answers to the JCHS Board of Directors and the position is a part time job. He/She drives their own personal vehicle and gets paid mileage.  

A vital job of the Humane Agent is determining the severity of the situation. If an animal is in immediate danger the following steps may be skipped and the animal confiscated. If the animal is not in immediate danger, the Humane Agent will attempt to work with the owners to improve the situation.

If a complaint is investigated and the animal is not felt to be in immediate danger we will attempt to provide education to the owner on proper care.  This is one of the Humane Agent’s most important jobs. Often, an animal is being mistreated because the owners do not know what they are doing wrong, or do not know how to get help caring for their animal. The Humane Agent will provide the owner with information about the humane treatment of animals and about animal laws in Ohio.

In other cases the investigation may reveal that the care provided to the animal is adequate under Ohio law and therefore there is nothing further that we can do beyond providing resources.  This is why it is so important to fight for stronger animal welfare legislation.  


From time to time our Humane Agents encounter farm animals who have been abused and neglected and need temporary foster homes while their cases are pending.  We are unable to care for these types of animals at the shelter and as such we rely on foster homes.  We’re looking to build a list of farm animal foster care volunteers.  If you’re able to provide a foster home for farm animals we’d love to hear from you!  Email us at  or give us a call at  (740) 314-5583.