Preventing Animal Cruelty
Texas Penal Code
On Friday April 14th, the El Paso Police Department announced in a press conference educational efforts to address animal cruelty. El Paso Police Chief Richard Wiles, Jessie Miller of Animal Cruelty Heartline of El Paso, Kelly Dickensen from the District Attorney's Office, Program Manager for Animal Regulation Disease and Control Ramon Acosta, Interim Executive Director for the Humane Society Flo Buchmueller and from the Animal Rescue League Loretta Hyde attended the conference. The purpose of this conference was to explain the education efforts by the El Paso Police Department and to inform the public on how to report these cases in addition to the work and involvement of different government agencies and private organizations on this important topic. E Paso Police Chief Richard Wiles said, "Cruelty to animals is a serious crime. No matter how determined law enforcement officers might be to bring animal abusers to justice, our hands are tied without strong community support. If you suspect cruelty to an animal, you should immediately report it. Help us to protect innocent animals and ensure that those committing acts of animal cruelty will get the punishment they deserve." Citizens can report cruelty to animals to Animal Control at 842-1000, Animal Cruelty Heartline of El Paso at 833-1737, the El Paso Police Department at 832-4400 and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office at 546-2280. If someone wishes to remain anonymous they can call Crime Stoppers of El Paso at 566-TIPS(8477). State law defines cruelty to animals as the follwing;
SEC. 42.09 CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
(A) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:
(1)tortures or seriously overworks an animal; (2)fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, SHELTER or care; (3)abandons unreasonably an animal in his custody; (4)transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner; (5)kills, injures, or administers poison to an animal belonging to another without legal authority or the owner's effective consent; (6)causes one animal to fight another; (7)uses a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing; (8)horse tripping
Any individual adjudged guilty of a Class A misdemeanor shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $4,000, confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year or BOTH such fine and imprisonment.
An amendment to the Penal Code, provides a felony penalty for individuals convicted of animal abuse on a third offense.
As of September 1, 2001, people who are convicted of committing acts of cruelty or torture to animals can receive harsher punishment via the new bill: HB 653. Heinous crimes of cruelty towards animals can now be tried as a FELONY punishable by up to $10,000 in fines or 2 years in jail or BOTH. Under this new law, minors (under the age of 18) can be forced to undergo psychological counseling.
Its also important to note that studies have shown links between animal abuse and domestic violence. Furthermore, those who torture animals are at much higher risk for committing violent and deadly crimes against humans later in life. Remember there are many ways to report it and by reporting it you can put an end to this type of crime.
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