The Force Holding Animal Abusers Accountable
SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Animal abuse, neglect and cruelty is more prevalent in our region than most people know. Local animal regulation agencies work cases every day, pulling animals out of precarious living conditions or caring for animals that were victims of abuse or neglect.
One of the most popular recent situations was the puppy Thomas, found on the side of the road – clearly injured. X-rays showed he had been struck in the skull with a blunt object, shattering his skull causing severe injury to his head and eyes.
The Bradshaw Animal Shelter, where Thomas was brought by a kind citizen after finding him, immediately began lifesaving treatment to manage his pain and treat the infection spreading in his body. Meanwhile, the shelter went public with Thomas’s story – asking for any information about Thomas. No one came forward with information and Thomas’s abuse/cruelty case is still unsolved.
The good news is that through the generosity of the shelter’s non-profit, T.E.A.M. (Teaching everyone Animals Matter), Thomas was able to get brain surgery and is now living a nearly normal life.
Thomas is just one example of hundreds the area animal shelters see every year. Because of the serious nature of the crimes seen, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s office launched an Animal Cruelty Task Force – comprised of representatives from each animal shelter in Sacramento County and the Sheriff and Police Departments.
Together, these agencies are working to identify, investigate and prosecute those responsible for abuse, neglect and cruelty to animals. Research shows that the link between animal abuse and crimes committed against persons is strong. Often, animal abuse is a gateway to crimes against humanity. With the help of the task force, Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley is looking to put a stop to this progressively violent behavior.
Deputy District Attorney Hilary Bagley on why she felt this task force collaborative was critical:
“For too many years in Sacramento it has been the worst of scenarios for animals. Prosecution relies on both law enforcement and animal control to make animal abuse investigation more of a priority within their agencies.
Law Enforcement more often than not, doesn’t receive training in animal abuse. Like any other crime, animal abuse constitutes violations of the Penal Code and law enforcement is responsible for investigating them.
At the same time Animal Control agencies have lacked training their officers as investigators. The officers all need to develop the ability to take statements, write reports and understand their responsibilities to develop and investigate cases. Our community expects that both animal care and law enforcement officers are performing their duties so that violators are accountable.
We have formed the task force to unite these agencies, share successes and learn from failures. Many on the force share an affinity for animals. We can only improve by communication, working together and joining all forces.”
The Animal Cruelty Task Force is just one example of progressive collaboration efforts across County agencies and across jurisdictional lines – all with the goal of creating a Sacramento Countywe all love.