National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference

Posted by Scott Heiser, ALDF's Director of Criminal Justice Program on April 7, 2014

logan-the-dog-article-image-500pxOur nation’s peace officers and prosecutors play a pivotal role in the fight against animal cruelty—without them there is no accountability for those who abuse animals.  More to the point, the outcomes in these important cases often turn on the skills of the investigator and the prosecutor.  That is why, next month, May 5-7, the Animal Legal Defense Fund is proud to sponsor the 4th National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference in Atlanta, in partnership with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA) and the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia. Panel discussions break down the trajectory of a successful animal cruelty prosecution from the crime scene to the courtroom. Topics include investigation, veterinary testimony, expert witnesses, forensics, sentencing, and improving legislation. With each portion of the pie in place, this conference promises to be an outstanding collaboration with takeaways for all involved.

Within the construct of “animal law,” criminal justice is where most of the action is, and ALDF has made significant progress in this area over the last seven years. Working behind the scenes and in concert with law enforcement, ALDF has helped secure justice for animal victims in thousands of cases in courts throughout the nation. Not happy with just helping, last year ALDF awarded a three-year grant to fund and field the nation’s first dedicated, full-time animal cruelty prosecutor. This fully sworn prosecutor is available to handle animal abuse cases for any one of Oregon’s 36 district attorneys, which means now there is no reason for animal abuse not to be fully and aggressively prosecuted in Oregon. This is a model program that will be replicated in other jurisdictions.

However, at the risk of overstating the obvious, any animal cruelty prosecutor (carrying a dedicated caseload or not) is not worth much without the proper training. That is why this conference is so important. Joining the all-star faculty for this three-day training are ALDF’s veteran prosecutors (Diane Balkin and myself—and who knows, maybe our dear friend and retired colleague Geoff Fleck will drop by as well) and ALDF’s animal law legislative expert, Chris Green. Here is the link to the full agenda.

Keynote speaker Vic Reynolds, Cobb County, Georgia district attorney, was recently honored by ALDF as one of the nation’s Top Ten Animal Defenders during National Justice for Animals Week 2014. Also honored as a top animal defender is APA president David LaBahn, who will kick off the conference with opening remarks, and later discuss legislative policies to help animals.

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys recognizes the importance of aggressively prosecuting animal cruelty cases; APA’s leadership serves as formal notice to those who work in the criminal justice system that these cases are a top priority for any law enforcement official—and that’s a big step forward for animals. Stay tuned for more details about the conference. For information, visit Here is the link to register online.

11 thoughts on “National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference

  1. Rashelle Wirtz says:

    What can I do to be apart and help

  2. Suzi Pettit says:

    THEY NEED YOU!!! We need you. Thank you

  3. Nancy Piatt says:

    I don’t have much but I will share and donate tell me what you need.

  4. maria murphy says:

    animals need us to save them from these monsters

  5. Theresa says:

    Please help these helpless creatures! Please punish the sick perpetrators. Make laws that make those people afraid to abuse anymore.

  6. Karen says:

    Will the conference be made available to watch online for SALDF members? The conference is right during finals time but it’d be great if any of the conference were made available to watch.

  7. Richard G. Morrison says:

    There’s a principle that needs exposure. We humans are the ascendant species on this planet, not merely because of our intelligence and our opposable thumbs, but also, and importantly, because of our compassion and our sense of community. The prevalence of abusive treatment of our fellow creatures calls our own survival into question.

  8. Audrey says:

    This abusive treatment has to stop. Animals are loving helpless creatures that God has put on this earth for us to enjoy. It seems that people need more help then animals when their mind is that sick to abuse like this. Please help them….Audrey

    1. night magic says:


  9. Johnnieg says:

    The commissioners of NC have not ruled after 2 more months of gassing. Remember election day!!

  10. Gael Ross says:

    Sadly enough, those who are supposed to be making sure animals are being treated “humanely” are part of the abuse taking place. This is very true in North Carolina where “raids” by authorities seem to be on the rise. Attention really needs to be called to what is going on in ” rescue ” by those who are supposed to be the ” saviors.”

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