Pets and police a good partnership

Friday , June 20, 2014 - 9:10 PM

STANDARD-EXAMINER EDITORIAL BOARD

When the administration of Animal Services was moved from Ogden City Services to the Police Department we had our doubts this would be an effective management process.

We envisioned police officers being tied up with loose dog calls and lost pet appeals.

However, the recent use of search warrants in a case involving an initial report of abused dogs shows how the joint administration can work.

Last month five dogs were seized by use of a search warrant after officers received tips and evidence of multiple animals being abused in a home on the 200 block of 7th Street. The police received a video that purportedly showed a resident viciously beating two dogs. The dogs included a 4-month-old puppy and 2-year-old female, both pit bull mixes. At one point in the video, the puppy is seen being suspended off the ground by its neck and beaten.

While retrieving the animals, officers also discovered marijuana plants at the home. The suspect is still at large, but the dogs have recovered and are now up for adoption.

This is the first time search warrants have been used in an animal cruelty case for animal services since it was put under police jurisdiction. The fact that illegal drugs were also found during the search — which separate search warrants were obtained once the pot was spotted — may not come as a surprise to mental health experts. There have been many studies indicating that animal cruelty can be associated with other criminal and deviate behavior.

A 2012 study of 261 inmates at a southern state prison, showed respondents who had committed repeated acts of animal cruelty were more likely to have engaged in recurrent acts of interpersonal violence, “showing a possible link between recurrent acts of childhood and adolescent animal cruelty and subsequent violent crime,” according to a Criminal Justice Review article.

Other studies have indicated a connection between animal cruelty and child abuse.

Putting animal services under police authority can be a way of doubling up on law enforcement and protection. Officers often have to respond to calls of threatening animals, so it makes sense to have other issues associated with pets, such as animal cruelty and neglect, fall under their jurisdiction.

Then if investigating an animal cruelty case, other criminal activity is noticed, there is no need for officials to have to transfer jurisdiction, which can add cost, time and bureaucracy to an incident.

The joint administration makes sense.

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