Over the past few years, more attention is drawn to the gravity of animal cruelty cases and how it often coexists with other link crimes as domestic abuse, fraud, drug trade, among others. Various sectors are working to raise awareness on the issue and apprehend those who abuse animals. Such initiatives include cracking down those who run illegal puppy mills, and animal fighting operations which can be resource intensive, requiring coordination from multiple agencies to ensure successful prosecution.
The instructor for this course is Claudine Wilkins, the Founder of Animal Law Source and the Animal Law, Enforcement, Veterinary and Shelter Symposium (ALEVSS). A national expert in animal law, she provides training for those handling animal cruelty cases including neglect, animal fighting, and animal hoarding.
She joins Justice Clearinghouse to provide anyone involved in animal cruelty cases with end-to-end guidelines, strategies and tips from team coordination, evidence collection, to successful convictions. Some of the points highlighted in this webinar include:
- The progress in animal law over the years and other initiatives dedicated to stop animal cruelty and uphold animal rights.
- The importance of knowing and understanding the laws that govern animal cruelty.
- The difference between criminal and regulation violations based on the players involved, the forum that processes the case, and the outcomes.
- The different types of court that cater to animal cruelty cases.
- Magistrate and municipal courts where most animal cruelty cases are, that deals with local ordinances, and where records are kept within the locale.
- State courts that deal with arrestable offenses that can result in a fine of up to $1,000 per charge and imprisonment up to a year.
- Superior courts that deal with arrestable offenses that can result in a fine worth more than $1,000 per charge and imprisonment of more than a year.
- Precedents in the form of legal statutes, case law, attorney general opinions, legislative intent and policies that can be made as the basis of animal cruelty cases.
- Who has the ability to make arrests in animal cruelty cases depending on local laws.
- The common issues on budget, resources and education that hinder prosecution of animal abuse cases and where and how to get assistance on such challenges.
- The different types of animal cruelty cases based on the nature of the violation and based on government intervention and role that you may encounter.
- The various steps and elements in animal law cases.
- Initiating the case by identifying and coordinating your critical players (law enforcement, animal control, veterinarians, prosecutors, etc.).
- Working the case backward by envisioning what is necessary to convince the jury through robustness and credibility of background information, evidence and case.
- Tips on who and what to include in search warrants.
- Preserving physical and digital pieces of evidence.
- Information and details that must be included and highlighted in the report.
- Things to remember when using body-worn cameras and using the footage as evidence including use of jargons.
- Writing an all-encompassing yet brief and effective final report.
- Who the potential witnesses are and taking witness statements.
- Ensuring crime scene security to avoid evidence contamination.
- The logistics process of coordinating a multiple-animal impound including the people involved, the scene set-up, and supplies.
- Details to take into account and include in stipulations, condition bonds and protective order.
- Other additional charges to file.
- The discoverability of notes and documentation captured via mobile phones.
- Considerations and guidelines towards successful prosecution.
- Providing immunity to liability for veterinarians and technicians to encourage reporting.
- Best practices and guidelines when working with multiple agencies.
- Claudine provided clarification on the attendees’ inquiries on:
- What disposal action is.
- The animal protection expo.
- Licensing of breeders.
- Hoarding as a mental illness.
The National Law Enforcement Center on Animal Abuse was established by the National Sheriffs’ Association to provide law enforcement officers information on the realities of animal abuse and to promote their proactive involvement in the enforcement of animal abuse laws in their communities. Through our partners, the Center will serve as an information clearinghouse and forum for law enforcement on the growing problem of animal abuse and its link to other types of crimes, including violence against humans. The Center also promotes officer safety in officer-dog encounters through continuing education and training.
The National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) was formed in 1978 for the express purpose of assisting its members to perform their duties in a professional manner. We believe only carefully selected and properly trained animal control personnel can correct community problems resulting from irresponsible animal ownership. NACA’s purpose is to preserve the Human/Animal Bond by insisting on responsible animal ownership.
- “Checklists! When dealing with many dogs, it’s hard to remember everything needed.” –Lisa
- “I enjoy webinars such as this due to my deep care for animals and I feel, at least in my experiences, that many individuals do not see the significance of animal abuse in relation to other elements of abuse and/or cases.” –Leigh
- “I appreciate the discussion regarding all the things not to overlook when documenting a crime scene.” –Kay
- “I appreciated the information on which agencies to contact when dealing with a case where business transactions from the owner/breeder were involved.” –Kevin
- “Some of the checklists for hoarding are very valuable. Also learning about particular states’ various laws might provide useful information in designing legislation for other states and municipalities.” –Beth