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If a child is being abused, most people know how to recognize it and who to call.

But if an animal is being abused or neglected, Humane Society officials in Vermont say many observers aren't sure if what they're seeing constitutes abuse or who to contact if they have concerns.

Humane Society officials are hoping a new reporting and tracking system will make it easier for residents to identify and report abuse.

Dubbed the Cruelty Response System, the new approach combines a high-tech database that tracks complaints and cases with a reporting system that eliminates confusion by giving callers in each county one agency to call.

"For years and years there's been confusion about who to call," said Jill Tucker, a humane enforcement consultant for the Vermont Humane Federation. "Now, there's one place to call and a database that allows multiple agencies to keep track of cases they didn't have access to before."

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