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Keyword: animal rights

County Executive Establishes Dedicated Investigative Unit

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced today that the County is creating a dedicated animal abuse unit in the Baltimore County Police Department to take the lead in investigation and enforcement efforts.

“In response to community input, I asked Police Chief Sheridan and Animal Services Director Dr. Melissa Jones to review County procedures regarding the referral and priority handling of animal cruelty cases,” stated County Executive Kamenetz. “That review recommended that Baltimore County establish a specialized unit in the Baltimore County Police Department dedicated to animal abuse cases, and this unit  will be up and running by the end of the month.”

The new Animal Abuse Investigative Team will comprise a police sergeant, a police officer and three civilian investigators. Animal Services has seen an increase in the number of suspected animal abuse cases since a new state law went into effect last October, compelling veterinary practitioners to report suspicions of animal cruelty or fighting to local animal control or law enforcement agencies.

The County’s review indicated that at the present time individuals may call a variety of numbers to report animal abuse cases.  Calls are made to the local police precinct, 911, Animal Services or even the State’s Attorney’s office. Under the new procedure, all callers will be directed to call 410-887-5901 to reach the Animal Abuse Investigative Team. If the Animal Abuse Investigative Team is unable to respond for whatever reason, callers will be instructed to call 911 immediately, and 911 operators will then refer the caller to the local police precinct.  The precinct will investigate and refer the case to the Animal Abuse Investigative Team for follow-up.

“Establishing a dedicated police unit to handle suspected cases of animal abuse will be a more effective way to handle what are often very challenging cases,” said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan.

“The creation of this unit creates a much clearer line of communication for the public and for our employees at Animal Services,” said Melissa Jones, V.M.D., Director of Baltimore County Animal Services. “I’m very pleased to have the resources of the Police Department to investigate and fight animal cruelty in our communities.”

“I encouraged the County Executive to review all of the procedures in animal cruelty cases, and I am very pleased that he followed up,” said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk. “This should be a much improved process.”

“The creation of a specialized unit in the Police Department to handle animal abuse will significantly improve communications between my office and the county,” said State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017