A collaborative approach is seen to be effective in the law enforcement and justice profession. It also highlights that the players’ involvement in a case makes all the difference. Just one stakeholder not doing due diligence can make a case crumble. In animal cruelty cases, this risk is even higher as there is still some level of lack of awareness on laws and protocols surrounding these.
Jake Kamins is back to share his experience on how inter-agency relationships can make or break a case. Jake is the Animal Cruelty Deputy District Attorney in Oregon. He represents the state in his role where he’s prosecuted over 150 individual cases of criminal animal cruelty cases. He also provides various agencies involved in these cases with training and case preparation guidance.
Specifics covered in this course are:
- The importance of inter-agency relationships in animal abuse cases in terms of logistics, evidence collection, burden of proof, and the costs involved.
- The various agencies that typically work together in criminal justice cases and the additional entities that must be involved specifically for animal cruelty cases.
- The importance of proactive planning through an inter-agency task force before a case comes your way to delineate the tasks and responsibilities of each entity involved.
- Establishing clear lines of communications across the involved parties.
- By assigning a point of contact for each agency and creating an organizational chart for decision making.
- How this can address conflicts effectively and allows conflicts to become learning opportunities.
- The critical step of collecting and preserving evidence.
- The challenges brought about by live evidence.
- The lack of resources for forensic testing which in turn poses a lot of additional issues in terms of chain of custody and evidence integrity.
- The importance of building partnerships with local forensic laboratories or veterinary colleges to address the shortage of forensic testing capabilities.
- Setting up training in chain of custody, evidence handling, and testing protocols to agencies/individuals that are part of animal cruelty cases.
- Determining which agencies are in charge of collecting different types of evidence.
- A look into the different expenses incurred in animal cruelty cases that the involved agencies are likely to shoulder.
- Poverty as the typical driver of animal neglect which means the owner does not have the financial resources to provide for the care of the seized animal/s.
- The critical task of tracking all costs shouldered by each agency for caring for the seized animals and processing them as evidence.
- Two hypotheticals that demonstrate the difference in the case outcomes through better inter-agency relations.
Points covered in the Q&A are:
- The difference in requirements for standards of care for companion animals and livestock.
- The core of the inter-agency effort regardless of what the unit is called.
- What the New Normal looks like when it comes to handling animal cruelty cases.
- How the movement calling for defunding law enforcement may result in animal services taking the brunt of the budget cuts.
- Utilizing government-employed veterinarians as expert witnesses in cases.
- Appealing to veterinarians’ compassion for animals to make them understand the importance of their assistance in these cases.
- Getting leadership and political buy-in to advance the cause of animal welfare.
Resources and Handouts
- Animal Cruelty Investigation – Veterinarian Info Summary
- Animal Neglect and Animal Abuse Case Flow Chart
- “While I feel like this was similar to the webinar in April, it is still needed and essential since animal abuse cases are STILL not investigated or prosecuted as effectively as they could be with proper training. Jake is amazing and truly has the experience that is conveyed through his presentations. I highly recommend his webinars, and I would listen again too!!! I hope that JCH continues to share these animal-related trainings, because I certainly appreciate them (and JCH!!) THANK YOU!!” — April
- “This was a good overview for people who are just getting started in animal cruelty work but it was not as pertinent to me as my organization has a very robust program already. Speaker was effective and would be interested to hearing him speak again.” — Alison
- ” Jake was fantastic – worked examples and demonstration of his sort skills in persuasion were brilliant.” — Di
- “Very practical solid ideas for better communication for the department as well as with other agencies.” — Lisa
- “I really enjoyed envisioning the hypothetical’s because it gave me an outlook to play in my head. I like the way we did two of those and the second was the one you should do instead. The most valuable thing I learned from this webinar today was that cases will need to be paid for and learning how and who its paid by. Another thing I learned today was collecting and preserving evidence! I would’ve never thought that by giving the animal food and water would be tampering the evidence but now it makes sense!” — Natalie
- “As a whole, the entire webinar was very informative. “VERY DETAILED.” — Thomas