Preventing Animal Abuse
The ASPCA has urged lawmakers to sponsor stronger legislation designed to protect animals, increase the ability to enforce existing laws, and improve funding for animal programs aimed at prevention.
Every municipality is different when it comes to who investigates animal cruelty. In some places it is the police, while in others citizens have to contact local animal control or another municipal agency.
“Many communities have launched animal cruelty task forces,” Hopman says. “One notable example is the city of Baltimore, which teamed up with the ASPCA to establish an anti-animal abuse task force in 2009 in response to the fatal burning of a dog named Phoenix. Many of these task forces aim to prevent and help prosecute animal cruelty in their communities.”
It is critical that law enforcement understand the connection between animal abuse and family violence. When responding to domestic calls it is important to be alert for signs that children and/or pets might be victimized.
Law enforcement academies train recruits to respond to and adequately investigate such activity, Humber says.
“Law enforcement practitioners are made aware of the significance of the animal abuser and possible dynamics of further inappropriate behavior on the part of the offender.”
Humber adds that there is a growing trend toward specialization in the field of animal cruelty response and investigation.
“Additional training is offered by private, local, state, and federal agencies to help first responders become more familiar with investigative techniques of this particular crime,” he says.
It’s up to concerned citizens to let officials know about animal abuse incidents. Without the actions of these citizens, officials would not know about most instances of animal cruelty. When reporting animal cruelty, they should provide as much information as possible. The details can go a long way toward assisting an investigating officer.
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