Aid for Prosecutors of Animal Abuse

The success of the prosecutor training conference last year (AWI Quarterly Fall 2009) caught the attention of the federal government! AWI’s partner in that conference, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), received a grant of nearly $500,000 from the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to expand its program of training and technical assistance to improve the prosecution of animal cruelty and animal fighting crimes. OJP showed great vision in recognizing that ensuring justice for animals benefits both animals and the entire community by reducing the overall level of violence. Under the grant, APA established the Animal Cruelty Advisory Council, comprised of prosecutors, investigators, law enforcement, veterinarians, psychologists, and members of the animal protection and domestic violence communities, among others, to identify issues, resource needs and strategies. APA brings these same professionals together to provide its multidisciplinary training, and calls on them individually for topic specific web-based training and materials. AWI hosted the Council’s first meeting on January 25, and senior federal policy advisor Nancy Blaney serves as the Council’s vice-chairperson.