Animal welfare agencies face many types of challenges in their work – the limited funding, the need to raise awareness, the lack of manpower and infrastructure, just among others. According to Adam Leath, these are actually not the root problems but are mere symptoms to an underlying issue – and it is actually easier to address than we all thought.
Adam is back on Justice Clearinghouse to talk about the importance of cultivating relationships. Adam is currently the Director of Volusia County Animal Services where he works with animal cruelty cases and animal victims of natural disasters. He is also a Certified National Animal Cruelty Investigator through the University of Missouri. In his previous roles, he was the Southeast Regional Director of the Field Investigations and Response Team at the ASPCA and President of the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association.
This session focused on the stakeholders that animal control and welfare organizations typically work with and how to build relationships and foster engagement with them. Points discussed include:
- The three main buckets of stakeholders that animal welfare and control agencies collaborate with.
- Working with prosecutors and judges.
- Getting to know your local prosecutors and judges by acquainting with their background, interests, and operations.
- Engaging them through cross-training opportunities, familiarizing with their professional associations, getting them to be a part of coalitions and task forces, and recognizing their contributions.
- Understanding the common reasons why some cases are not prosecuted and collaborating with them to build a strong case.
- Working with law enforcement.
- Connecting with law enforcement agencies that you’re likely to collaborate with and understand their structure.
- Taking part in law enforcement meetings and events to acquaint with the services they provide, build rapport, and engage with them.
- Offering training on animal law, animal cruelty cases, and other related topics they are not likely to have as much exposure to and identify specific officers who show interest in the topic.
- Supporting cross-reporting between agencies for better coordination.
- Acknowledging their contributions and providing feedback to superiors about the help they’ve extended.
- Being responsive to their calls for assistance, cooperating and showing up as a united front.
- Working with NGOs.
- Familiarizing with their work and mission to identify common goals and values.
- Leveraging their expertise, connections, and reputation when working on cases.
- Utilizing the resources they can provide – be it manpower, facilities, funding, or training to improve services.
- Underutilized local resources and building those connections to collaborate with them.
- How leveraging relationships can improve response to cases involving animals by building more robust cases, acquiring necessary warrants, and better warrant executions.
- Examples of cases where inter-agency and inter-discipline collaboration was maximized.
- The various animal welfare and animal law-related agencies that you may collaborate with, the work they do, and the help they may extend.
Adam provided clarifications during the Q&A on:
- State resources for training and experience with animal handling, seizure and sheltering.
- Restorative options and rehabilitation for offenders of animal crime.
- Collaborating with law enforcement by first letting leaders and decision-makers engage.
- Dealing and working with media reporting on animal cruelty cases.
Other Webinars in this Series with Adam include:
- Engagement of Public-Private Partnerships in Animal Cruelty Investigations (this webinar)
- June 30: Is Mission Creep Killing Your Agency?
- Oct 8: Custody Considerations in Animal Control
- Dec 8: What Your Boss Wished You Knew: Professionalism in an Increasingly Unprofessional World
- “LOVE the animal-based webinars! Keep them coming.” 🙂 — Jennifer
- “Great nuggets of information to implement locally.” — Mario
- “Adam had great ideas and the information was very helpful.” — Paula
- “I get so much information when I watch these webinars. It is great to have ideas and strategies when dealing with the unusual when out in the field.” — Sarah
- “Just stoking the fire of creativity regarding renewing relationships with other agencies. I’ve been at this a long time and sometimes I just need to be reminded how important these things are.” — Frank