|WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT ANIMAL CRUELTY IN YOUR AREA|
|At any given time, there are numerous animal cruelty cases pending in the criminal justice system in every judicial circuit. All criminal cases (excluding juvenile cases) are public information. Unfortunately, many animal cruelty cases go unnoticed by PETA and other animal rights organizations. There is a direct correlation between how much attention a case gets from the community and media with how much time and attention that case gets by the local prosecutor’s office. If more people, including the media, were aware of how often animal cruelty occurs, more pressure would be placed on prosecutors and legislators to strengthen animal cruelty laws and penalties. Just this year, the Florida Senate passed a bill (S.B. 558) that would strengthen animal cruelty laws; however, the companion House bill died in committee.
Fortunately, there is a database of pending animal cruelty cases in the criminal justice system. You’ll be surprised about how many horrific cases don’t even make the local newspaper. When you see a pending animal cruelty case in the court system, contact the local State Attorney’s Office and urge the elected State Attorney, and the assistant prosecutor handling the case, to seek the most severe sentence possible. Just letting the state attorney’s office know that you’re watching the case and are interested in the outcome will help more than you know. Don’t hesitate to get the media involved or write a letter to the editor of your local paper. The more people that are aware of the case and interested in the outcome, the better the chances are for getting a tough sentence that will adequately punish the defendant.
To view the database, visit http://www.pet-abuse.com/.
|HOW TO FIND AND TRACK ANIMAL CRUELTY CASES IN YOUR AREA|
|All adult arrests are public information, and most Sheriff's Office websites list daily arrests (as do many local newspapers). Check the arrest listings and when you see an arrest for animal cruelty, follow up on it. Give the State Attorney's Office a week or two to investigate, then call the Clerk of Court and/or State Attorney's Office and ask for the case number and upcoming court dates. Remember, this is public information. If the State Attorney's Office doesn't file charges, or files charges as a misdemeanor when it should be a felony, call the media and let them know. If you have any questions about this, please contact me and I'll be more than happy to assist.
Keep in mind that in Florida, misdemeanor cases are handled in county court and felony cases are handled in circuit court.
To view the arrest inquiry page for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, CLICK HERE.