SAN BERNARDINO-(VVNG.com): Animal cruelty has direct links to other crimes relating to humans, including violent crimes San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos said.
“The “Link” between animal cruelty and family violence (domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse) is widely recognized by law enforcement professionals and social science studies,” said Ramos. “Street gangs turn loving pets into trained fighting dogs to protect their criminal enterprises, for sport, and for profit. Hundreds of chickens each year are maimed and killed in San Bernardino County due to cockfighting rings.”
On March 23, 2016, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s officials said that Keion Hector allegedly killed an 8-week old pit bull in order to intimidate a female victim.
“I killed your dog because you went over there (next door),” said Hector. “Now lay down on the bed and turn the lights off. Lay in the bed or I’ll put your face by the dead dog. If you leave, I’ll kill you like I killed Sasha.”
Although progress has been made in the investigation and prosecution of these cases, District Attorney Ramos said that there is a need for additional action to be taken. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has now introduced the District Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit (ACPU). Ramos said that this unit will enact stricter policies and prosecution, that will help prosecute those guilty of animal cruelty to the “fullest extent of the law”.
The District Attorney’s office has taken numerous actions prior to the introduction of the ACPU to combat the problem. In 2012, the San Bernardino County Animal Cruelty Task Force (ACT) was created. This task force helped the animal control agencies, law enforcement, the Humane Society of San Bernardino, District Attorney’s Office and Investigators, and domestic violence agencies collaborate to fight animal cruelty.
“The Task Force has been a complete success and is now a model for the state and the nation. Today, there are 25-plus participating agencies from multiple counties involved with ACT,” said Ramos.
Since 2014, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department became part of what was a newly formed National Law Enforcement Council of The Humane Society of the United States. This council brings law enforcement both past and present and prosecutors from across the country to better enforce laws to stop animal cruelty and abuse.
“It is a sad fact that animal cruelty and neglect, cockfighting rings, dogfighting by criminal street gangs, animal hoarding, and companion animal abuse and co-occurring family violence are all issues still faced by San Bernardino County,” said Ramos. “We must do a better job of investigating and prosecuting these cowardly and heartless abusers of helpless animals.”