Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration

Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-08-24
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration
Unit 2Transcript: Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration
Unit 3Workbook: Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration
Unit 4Recording: Lessons from the Field: How One Community Transformed Its Response to Animal Cruelty through Collaboration

Animal cruelty cases are unusual and highly nuanced – in between unconventional witnesses, victims, and evidence and lack of awareness, it can get pretty tricky to investigate and prosecute. The Animal Legal Defense Fund offers their services and resources to agencies that want to enhance their animal cruelty processes. One of their latest initiatives is the Collaborative Response Project which fosters partnerships to address the most common issues faced within the field.

Providing a detailed discussion of the project, its goals, the benefits garnered in its pilot run, and how other agencies can be part of the project is Linda Fielder. Linda is the Animal Cruelty Investigations Manager for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program where she provides operational and forensic support on criminal animal cruelty cases for different stakeholders.

Specifics of her presentation include:

  • What a collaborative response looks like in the animal law and cruelty space.
  • The common resolutions that animal control and law enforcement tend to provide in animal welfare calls.
  • A rundown of the primary collaborators involved in animal law and cruelty cases and their duties and involvement in the process.
  • The ALDF’s Collaborative Response Project
    • Its core goals that revolve around providing needed resources and fostering partnerships among key stakeholders.
    • Its long-term goals of enhancing community recognition of animal cruelty, preserving human-animal bonds, and expanding partnerships across jurisdictions.
  • How collaboration is key in animal welfare to leverage diverse resources and come up with creative solutions to improve outcomes and enhance compliance for animal owners.
  • The pilot ALDF Collaborative Response Project application: The criteria they set for the candidates and the specific areas where ALDF can provide improvement in.
  • How McHenry County was selected for the Collaborative Response Project due to its unique challenges and strengths in animal law enforcement.
  • The issues and strengths identified by McHenry County and considered by the ALDF in the selection process.
  • The series of training provided by the ALDF to the McHenry County stakeholders including a focused training for veterinarians and prosecutors on investigations, forensics, and prosecution.
  • Case studies where being part of the Collaborative Response Project benefited McHenry County in their…
    • Large-scale equine cases that required funding for care, housing, medical treatment, diagnostics, and veterinary forensics and support in building a robust case.
    • A “rescue” operation that put both animals and children at risk where coordination between animal control and the Department of Child and Family Services allowed for safer outcomes.
  • Steps to apply to the ALDF Collaborative Response Project and the benefits of being a part of it.
  • How agencies can get started with building collaborative relationships immediately and how the ALDF can provide assistance in their efforts in the animal law space.

Points raised during the Q&A are about:

  • Until when the applications to the program will run.
  • Criteria for agencies to be qualified for the initiative.
  • The geographic scope of the program.
  • How smaller agencies can benefit from the project.
  • Forms and templates to be used by veterinarians.
  • Recognizing the link between animal cruelty and other forms of family violence.
  • Whether a duty to report a child in need of protection exists in the different states.



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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “It was fascinating hearing how Illinois is a top-tier state, and what practices they have implemented, or are working to improve upon, to benefit the well-being of animals and owners who care for them.” — Sarah
  • “I did enjoy the class and material provided.” — Michael
  • “The effects of collaboration within communities and how all parties can benefit from correct resources.” — Misty
  • “All the information was great.” — Rhonda
  • “The Collaboration Project is creating a clear guideline to how different agencies can collaborate in a Jurisdiction.”  — Rylie
  • “All of the resources available and how to organize the mission.” — Stacie
  • “Gained valuable knowledge on developing rapport with as many local resources as possible to appropriately respond to critical investigations of animal cruelty.” — Travis




This webinar is part of the JCH Summer School Program. From June 1-August 31, 2023, attendees will receive a certificate of attendance via email about one hour after the conclusion of a webinar.

Want to join us for other Summer School webinars? Check out our Summer School Calendar and register today!



Founded in 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund accomplishes this mission by filing high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting legislation harmful to animals, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.





This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.





Additional Resources
1 month ago
After the Webinar: Lessons from the Field. Q&A with Linda Fielder
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