After reading another misguided letter to the editor in the local paper, I am increasingly annoyed with people who operate under the false perception that animal cruelty is not a crime that should be vigorously pursued. Apparently they believe that all resources should be used for crimes with human victims and once we have that sorted out, we can worry about animals. Those people are wrong. Ignoring the fact that they are creating a false choice where none exists, there is a plethora of evidence and studies that show that animal cruelty is undoubtedly linked to crimes against humans. In many cases, cruelty to animals is a crime that is both a predictor and indicator of other crimes. With a tip of the hat to The Sisyphus Comments, here's a blurb about a great manual, available online, from the American Prosecutors Research Institute that explains why these crimes matter so much:
The field of animal law is in its infancy and prosecutors are frequently at a loss to handle cases of animal abuse and neglect.
The American Prosecutors Research Institute has published an excellent resource manual, Animal Cruelty Prosecution: Opportunities for Early Response to Crime and Interpersonal Violence. Written by Dr. Randall Lockwood and produced jointly by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the book discusses why cruelty cases are important, types of cases, prosecuting procedures and reference materials.