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Are Animal Cruelty Prosecutions a Waste?

By Hager & Schwartz, P.A.

October 17, 2011

The Palm Beach state attorney’s recent decision to dedicate a single prosecutor to animal cruelty cases is creating a debate as to the necessity of whether such is a waste of scarce resources. Animal lovers will respond to the question of whether a single prosecutor for a specific type of case is a waste of resources with a resounding NO! Especially when you consider that animal cruelty is a crime and will be prosecuted anyway, so the argument that it is a waste of resources lacks merit.

By designating one specific prosecutor to handle these cases, you can assume that the prosecutions will be streamlined to a trial and not a quick plea of convenience by a prosecutor who may not care about animals and/or the care of such. The cases will appropriately be handled by an animal lover in charge of all the county’s animal cruelty charges, making for a uniform, streamlined approach to cases that were once dispersed over a number of different prosecutors with varying skills, case loads and prosecutorial styles.

This will make it much harder for defendants to get off on technicalities or for a lack of attention to cases that most in our society believe deserve aggressive, through treatment. For years, the State Attorney’s Office has created specialized units within the office specifically for Fraud, Career Criminals, Sex Crimes, Public Corruption, Narcotics and even Auto Theft. These units have attorneys specifically working on those types of cases that our community seems most concerned about being protected from. We can now consider Animal Cruelty as one of those specialized units.

Animal Cruelty can be charged as a Misdemeanor or a felony depending on the extent of the abuse and/or injuries. Our Attorneys have handled these types of cases with great success. Like violent crimes involving people, there are often justifications in an animal abuse case. However, such must be determined on a case by case basis.