Forsyth County Animal Services urges people to report cruelty instead of sharing on social media

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Forsyth County Animal Services is warning you that not everything you see online is real.

“People have received either threats on their life, threats on stealing the animals and all those are things are criminal offenses,” said Captain Van Loveland with Forsyth Animal Services.

Captain Loveland showed us a post made online as an example. Someone thought animals kept in kennels outside were facing extreme heat conditions.

In reality, Captain Loveland says the animals had shelter, were fed and were being well taken care of. The owner uses them to hunt.

“Those dogs can typically be raised a little differently,” Captain Loveland said.

Animal control workers have limits on some of their enforcement because of local ordinances and laws.

“People don’t understand that sometimes we just can’t go in and seize animals,” Captian Loveland said.

Other times, things are just a misunderstanding.

“It does happen regularly,” Captain Loveland said. “Someone may think an animal is in distress or whatever. We go out and the animal has their food and has their shelter and their water and the owner is taking care of their animal.”

Animal control officers have responded to about 9,800 calls this year, which includes follow-ups.

Around 2,100 civil or criminal citations have been issued.

“We are running at about a 40 to 45% rate as far as us issuing some type of violation charge,” Captain Loveland said.

He wants people to report suspected abuse but to also be aware.

“As we all know, just because it is on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true,” Captain Loveland said.

If you see an animal you think is in danger, don’t post it online. Instead, call animal control.

They will respond physically check the animal, look at them directly and make sure everything is ok.

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