After the Webinar: Lessons from the Field. Q&A with Linda Fielder

Webinar presenter Linda Fielder answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: What is the deadline for the applications to your program? 

Linda Fielder:  That’s a really great question. We will be focusing our selection based on the applicants that we receive, so if we have to work hard to get enough applicants, we will extend the deadline. I would encourage you, though, to get your application in, at least by the end of October, I know that we’ll be keeping it open until that time.  Here’s the link to the application portal.


Audience Question: If your state’s animal laws are lax, will that disqualify the agency for the project? 

Linda Fielder: Absolutely not. And that’s a great question, and it brings up a point that I want to emphasize again and that is we’re not looking for the next McHenry county. We’re looking for a jurisdiction that can identify their issues. And, in this case, it sounds like weak animal cruelty laws may be toward the top of that list. What we want to do is be able to make improvements where we can, work within the constraints that you’ve identified, and come out, with those good resolutions. So, there’s nothing that you can tell us, that you’re faced with that would prevent you from being considered for the project. However, the requirement that we must have, is that the entities are able and willing to commit to the time and energy the project will take.


Audience Question: Does the ALDF Criminal Justice program apply to Canadian agencies as well? 

Linda Fielder:  Right now, the Collaborative Response Project is going to be focused on the United States. Our hope is that as we continue to carry out the project we will have trainings and kind of an arsenal of resources that we have created that then can be utilized by jurisdictions anywhere.


Host: Alexandra just messaged in, Congratulations from Brazil amazing project and I hope someday ALDF can expand this abroad. Thank you so much for sharing that.


Audience Question: I am starting a new ACO and CEO for my small town, is there any help with starting these programs in small communities? 

Linda Fielder:  Well, the project would be particularly suited for a small community, so I would encourage you to apply to participate. And then, any of the ideas and concepts that that I’ve introduced to you today, if you would like specific consultation and assistance with ideas that are going to apply to your area or your community, please reach out and let us work directly with you to try to problem solve and come up with ideas.


Audience Question: Can you provide electronic examples of seizure intake forms for veterinarians for various species: dog cat, horse cattle, chickens, etc.? 

Linda Fielder:  Yes, we can. You can get those by e-mailing me, and I can send them directly to you. And then again, you know, the book that we showed, Animal Cruelty Investigations from Victim to Verdict has over 100 forms that are useful to veterinarians and enforcement agencies when processing scenes doing forensic workups. We have report templates and that sort of thing. So, I can send you specific form templates immediately, but then you might be interested in taking a look at some of those as well.


Audience Question: I’m a domestic violence victim advocate with the city attorney’s office. We handle animal abuse and cruelty cases, because animal cruelty is frequently an indicator in domestic violence cases. I’m curious how this issue has been addressed in the collaboration project? 

Linda Fielder:  For sure, human welfare agencies are an important collaborator in this project, and just like with the example that you saw about the child welfare investigation, there were humans at risk in that home.  We did have cases that we worked through this pilot year of the project that involved domestic violence victims. These cases were worked through traditional law enforcement, who in many cases, were the initial responders, and then they knew to contact animal control, who then came in and worked up the animal cruelty component of the crime. This illustrates the link between animal crime and human violence. That’s something that we train on in our intensive two-day training, and then are aware of and encourage casework on throughout the year.


Audience Question: Is there a duty to report a child in need of protection in each state? We know, again, in intimate violence cases, children witnessing animal abuse can often result in mental health issues. 

Linda Fielder: The mandated duty to report extends to law enforcement and peace officers, and in many cases, it varies by state but can extend to animal control officers, depending on their authority and the way the statutes are written. Mandatory reporting is something that is becoming more enhanced through legislation to include animal responders as mandatory reporters. So that’s been a trend that’s happening around the country that’s really important. The same kind of trend is happening with human welfare agencies reporting animal cruelty when they when they suspected.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration.

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