Wednesday April 7, 2004
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced the creation of a special unit – involving officials from multiple Louisville Metro departments -- to investigate cases involving animal cruelty. Last year, Metro Animal Services officials investigated more than 1,500 cases of animal cruelty.
Many of those cases, studies show, also are linked to other forms of violence against humans such as spouse, child or elder abuse.
“We should not tolerate abuse of any kind in our community,” Abramson said. “At the same time, however, the problem and challenge associated with animal cruelty extends beyond animals. The creation of this team, across departmental lines, takes a comprehensive approach to a far-reaching problem.”
The Cruelty Investigations Unit, which will be administered by Metro Animal Services, will be composed of four Animal Control officers, who together have a combined 48 years of experience in animal care and control. The officers involved also have an in-depth knowledge of local and state laws and regulations regarding animal cruelty.
Abramson said the new program, which will begin in mid-April, will not cost additional dollars. Animal Control officers are simply being re-assigned to focus on this effort.
County Attorney Irv Maze is dedicating the time of a prosecutor, Matthew Lemme, to the effort. And the police department will assist as well, allowing members of the new investigation unit to participate in ride-alongs as part of their investigations.
“As the prosecutor for District Court, I am proud to participate in this effort,” Maze said. “Matthew Lemme is one of my most aggressive prosecutors, and we will vigorously pursue the cases Metro Animal Services refers to us.”
Abramson said national studies show that 21 percent of intentional animal cruelty cases also involve family violence. And about one-third of such cases involve perpetrators under the age of 18.
“The point is simple,” Abramson said. “Stopping animal abuse early may be an important part of stopping other forms of abuse or violent crime now and in the future.”