1. HARPS’ receives a complaint with available evidence and it is recorded.
  2. Humane Investigators initiate process by conducting a drive by inspection to check validity and/or attempt to speak with owner via door knock.
  3. If owner is uncooperative and the complaint is severe, animal control and/or law enforcement is asked to assist and a search warrant may be issued.
  4. Owner is given a Notice of Apparent Violation, educated, and given up to 48 hours to rectify the violation.
  5. If the owner does not comply with the recommended care of a large animal veterinarian and is in violation of the Humane Care for Animals Act,HARPS may impound the animal(s) after an impoundment number is issued from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.

Investigation & Impoundments


Illinois law:
(510 ILCS 70/3) (from Ch. 8, par. 703) Sec. 3. Owner's duties. (a) Each owner shall provide for each of his or her animals:


(1) a sufficient quantity of good quality, wholesome food and water 

(2) adequate shelter and protection from the weather 

(3) veterinary care when needed to prevent suffering 

(4) humane care and treatment.

510 ILCS 70/3.03) Sec. 3.03. Animal torture. (a) A person commits animal torture when that person without legal justification knowingly or intentionally tortures an animal. For purposes of this Section, and subject to subsection (b), "torture" means infliction of or subjection to extreme physical pain, motivated by intent to increase or prolong the pain, suffering, or agony of the animal.





HARPS works with animal control, law enforcement and the Illinois Department of Agriculture in securing justice for abused victims. HARPS volunteer investigators are required to have multiple years of experience breeding, raising, or training horses and undergo a one-year apprenticeship before HARPS endorses them to test for their investigator’s license. HARPS has an excellent success record when offenders are prosecuted through the courts.


In investigative situations our priority is to educate owners and caregivers IF the abuse is due to a lack of knowledge about proper equine and animal care. However, refusal to comply with state humane laws and intentional abuse will result in impoundment and legal action if all else fails.