Law enforcement officers have confirmed what we always knew: 78 percent say they see a clear link between animal abuse and other violent crimes. So would you believe that only 19 percent of law enforcement officers report that they’ve received training in handling crimes against animals, and that while nearly one-third of Americans say they’ve witnessed animal cruelty firsthand, police say they rarely see it? According to new ASPCA research, it’s true.
“These findings validate what we have long assumed—that there is a major need for training for officers charged with enforcing animal cruelty laws and investigating cruelty cases,” says Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects for the ASPCA.
The nationwide research study found that the public and law enforcement both want to end animal abuse, but they lack the know-how to work together to stop it. Case in point: we learned that very few witnesses to animal cruelty call the police, and that while nearly all law enforcement officers feel they should play a role in enforcing animal cruelty law, only 41 percent say they know the relevant laws in their area and just 30 percent say they know the penalties.
By obtaining solid research on the problem, we’re a big step closer to solving it through education. The ASPCA is already on the case, boosting our efforts to end blood sports with a tool kit for law enforcement that will soon be released by the Department of Justice and by appointing Animal Fighting Expert Terry Mills to train and work with law enforcement on that important issue.
In the video below, Dr. Lockwood outlines some of the most important findings of the study and explains how the ASPCA will use them in the battle against animal cruelty.
Learn how you can report animal cruelty with our complete guide.