What to Know
- Miami-Dade Animal Services, the APSCA and the Miami-Dade Police Department are partnering in the training
- Police in Miami-Dade handle about 900 cases of animal cruelty each year
Police officers in South Florida are receiving special training to help them detect animal abuse and neglect cases.
Miami-Dade Animal Services, the APSCA and the Miami-Dade Police Department are partnering in the training to help with the nearly 900 cases of animal cruelty processed by animal services every year.
"You have just outright neglect where someone is not taking care of their dog appropriately and that’s a problem, that’s something that we need to deal with through the law," animal services director Luis Munoz said.
More than two dozen officers received training Tuesday as part of the anti-cruelty task force.
"We see the cockfighting cases, the dogfighting cases, we see cases that there’s 20-30 cats inside a home and they’re hungry, some of them are dying of hunger," Det. Alvaro Zabaleta said.
In some cases, the abused animals have severe health issues or behavioral problems and have to be put down. The anti-cruelty task force provides veterinary care to neglected pets and also gives legal support in animal cruelty investigations.
The animal welfare organizations work closely with the police department, since many times animal cruelty cases are also linked to other crimes.
"Sometimes you respond to a scene that maybe it’s a domestic violence situation and there’s a pet that is malnourished and you may not be able to identify that if you are not trained in that area," Munoz said.
Once the animals are rehabilitated, they are placed with a new family.
The anti-cruelty task force also depends on the public’s help. If you see a possible case of cruelty you can report it by calling 311, but in cases of severe abuse or life or death situations, you should call 911 right away.