Family & Pets / How To Report Animal Abuse or Neglect

How To Report Animal Abuse or Neglect

How To Report Animal Abuse or Neglect

30 June 2016 Family & Pets 4

Dogs in Merida Houses

As an Evolución volunteer, I often get calls about dogs in need and am asked advice on what to do. Recently, I received a call from a friend who was very upset about the condition of her neighbor’s dog.

“Poor thing!” she said. “He’s very skinny and he’s tied up all day in the sun without any water! He is really suffering. I’m working on getting him rescued.”

“That’s great,” I said. “What are you doing to help him?”

And she told me, “Well, I told the neighbor that was a cruel thing to do to the dog, but she didn’t seem to care. And I told my veterinarian about it. I’ve also spoken to many of the other neighbors, and they’re not happy about it either. I posted it on Facebook so that others will know that this is cruel and we shouldn’t accept this! Maybe if others speak up, something will get done.”

“Well, did you file a denuncia?” I asked. To which she responded “A denuncia? What’s that?”

How Denuncias Work for Animals in Yucatan

A denuncia is a legal complaint in Mexico. Because there are laws in the State of Yucatan that protect animals and provide them with basic rights to food, water and decent treatment, you can file a denuncia to report animal abuse. In fact, it is the only process we have to initiate an investigation into allegations of animal abuse and cruelty. If the situation is dire, immediate action can be taken by authorities. But before anything can happen, a legal complaint must be filed.

Filing a denuncia is something that everyone has a legal right to do in this country whether you are a citizen or a foreigner. When you file a denuncia, you are making a legal complaint to the authorities against alleged illegal activity. As of a few years ago, there are animal cruelty laws here in Mérida and in the Yucatán. If you suspect someone may be breaking the law, you have the right to report them.

If you saw a thief breaking into your neighbor’s house, the appropriate thing to do would be to call the police. If you suspect someone of child abuse, you would contact social services. And if you suspect animal abuse or cruelty, the appropriate course of action here in Merida and throughout the state of Yucatan is to file a denuncia.

Too often, filing a denuncia is not done. Instead, people write to the newspaper, write to the Governor of Yucatan, demand that a petition be started or more often than not, just complain about it at lunch or on Facebook. These are not tactics that will solve the problem for the animal in question, or for the future animals of the Yucatan.

The Process of Filing a Denuncia

Like any legal process, there are papers to fill out and file. We can provide you with the steps for filing the forms that the government needs to take action.

If you see an animal that needs intervention in Merida, do this:

  • Call the Subdireccion de Ecología at 999-924-0025 ext 81460. Provide all the details of your complaint and they will give you a file number as reference. The department will send out an officer to investigate the complaint. Remember to call back often to follow up, referring to your file number. This conversation will be in Spanish so prepare yourself, or have a trusted Yucatecan there to help you.
  • Denuncias can also be filed online at the Merida website.
  • You can also file your denuncia in person. This is done at the offices of Subdirección de Ecología y Residuos Sólidos del Ayuntamiento located at Avenida Mérida 2000 (128) S/N x 67A y 67B Fraccionamiento Bosques del Poniente, Colonia Yucalpetén 942-00-38, ext 81460.

If you see an animal that needs intervention outside the Merida city limits, do this:

  • Contact the Secretaría de Desarrollo Urbano y Medio Ambiente (SEDUMA). You can reach them by email at seduma [at] yucatan [dot] gob [dot] mx, by phone at (999) 930-3380 or you can go to their offices at Calle 64 No. 437 x 53 y 47-A, Colonia Centro, Mérida, Yucatán.
  • You can also file a SEDUMA denuncia on line at Once you have clicked on that link, click on Trámites y Servicios and scroll down to Denunciar Popular. Again, remember to follow up and be persistent with your complaint.

How Can I Make Sure Something Is Done?

Here are our hard-won tips for a successful denuncia:

  • Complete the Form – It is important to fill out your denuncia as completely as possible. State the facts of your complaint clearly. Be as specific as possible and include as much evidence as you can. Take photos. It is helpful to keep and include a log of your observations (for example; this date the animal was put out without food and water from this time to this time). If possible, get others to file a complaint as well or to be part of your complaint.
  • Be Specific – If possible, note in your denuncia the specific sections of the law you believe have been broken.
    • Here is an example:
      • I believe my neighbor has abandoned his dog. The dog has been left inside for several days without food or water and no one has come to check on the dog. This is in violation of el Reglamento para Proteccion a la Fauna Domestica del Municipio de Merida, Capitulo 3, Articulo 7, which status the following:
        • Artículo 7.- Queda prohibido a los propietarios y poseedores de animales a que hace
          referencia este Reglamento:
          II.- Abandonar en viviendas cerradas, en la vía pública o solares;

      Remember, putting as much information into the hands of authorities as possible, will help your complaint to be acted upon as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If we can cite the laws we believe are being broken, we are providing information to help authorities act quicker.

  • Know the laws – Copies of the most recent animal protection laws can be found at under the section for Laws and Regulations.
  • Speak Spanish – Even if you don’t speak fluent Spanish, you must know someone who does. Ask a bilingual person to translate the laws so you understand them, or run it through Google Translate.
  • Follow the Example – Evolucion also has a copy of a denuncia on our website to provide an example of how to fill one out.
  • Be Persistent – Don’t just file the complaint and then forget about it. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. In cases of animal complaints, this is probably even more true. Be polite, be kind, but be persistent.

Don’t Think You Can Do It Alone?

Are you still unsure how to proceed? Or is your situation urgent? Evolución can help. We have been lucky enough to find and retain an attorney whose only job is to help people file denuncia’s for animal protection and to follow up to ensure that action is taken. And best of all, she is providing this service free of charge through Evolucion! She speaks English (and Spanish, of course), so she can find out exactly what you have seen and what you know, and then help you take action.

Lic. Laura Victoria Díaz González
Denuncia Lawyer and Volunteer
cel (9992) 42-61-17
iusa cel (9992) 92-57-33
Monday through Friday, 4:00 PM-8:00 PM
Or email: denuncia [at] evolucionyucatan [dot] com

This is Important

Don’t wait! If you see an animal being abused or neglected, don’t wait, do something. Take photos, start your log and either file the denuncia yourself, or call us to help you through the process. If you think you might need this information in the future, bookmark this page. (But always know you can find it again here, by searching on “denuncia“). Remember, we have the power of choice and we can choose to do something or do nothing. The choice is ours. Remember what Gandhi said:

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

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  • Bita 7 years ago

    Hi, I am not sure if I am writing to the right place but here is the situation. I am travelling around Mexico and mostly use buses to go to different towns. In two seperate incidents I witnessed that the passangers were allowed to put their dogs in a small crate in cargo area underneath the bus where the outside temp was 34 c.I inspected the area and it is absolutely a confined area with limited air and super hot. Where I come from this is considered animal cruetly and this happened in a well known bus line such as COSTA LINE. What should be done. Please guide me.

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