ASPCA, Justice Department Team Up to Help Cops Catch Dog Fighters
January 20, 2012
Whether we’re helping remove dogs from a fighting operation or sending our top experts to testify against dog fighters in court, the ASPCA is working hard to see an end to this gruesome form of cruelty—but we can’t do it alone. That’s why our top experts teamed up with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Policing Services (the COPS Office) to provide local agencies with an essential tool to end dog fighting.
The Dog Fighting Toolkit for Law Enforcement, released in December, is a 96-page guide that outlines best practices on addressing the issue, along with a quick reference card, a prosecutor’s guide to dog fighting cases, a community action guide, an FAQ for animal shelters and veterinarians, and access to a no-cost, online training course. It teaches law enforcement to recognize dog fighting, collect evidence, handle animal victims, team up with prosecutors, and build animal task forces in their communities.
“Dog fighting is often associated with other illegal activity such as drugs and weapons,” says Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects, “and we hope our toolkit will help law enforcement and other agencies actively investigate, prosecute and eradicate dog fighting in America.”
Our research shows that law enforcement is more than ready for the kit. In 2010, just 19 percent of law enforcement officers surveyed said they’d received training in handling crimes against animals, while nearly all felt they should play a role in enforcing animal cruelty law. And most knew the importance of prosecuting crimes against animals; 78 percent saw a clear link between animal abuse and other violent crimes.
Naturally, we expected a lot of demand for the toolkit, and law enforcement didn’t disappoint. In the month since the kit has been available, the COPS Office has sent out hundreds of copies!
To find out how you can help law enforcement curb dog fighting in your area, check out our top 10 ways to help end dog fighting.