Prosecutors and law enforcement often lack the resources or specific expertise needed to prosecute crimes against animals. To that end, our Criminal Justice Program provides free legal assistance to prosecutors, law enforcement, and veterinarians handling animal cruelty cases. We also work with state legislators to strengthen criminal animal protection laws.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program is staffed by attorneys with expertise in criminal animal law, including in-the-trenches prosecution experience. We work closely with esteemed national organizations like the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and the National Sheriffs’ Association to provide training and resources to prosecutors and other law enforcement officials.
Our Criminal Justice Program provides the following free legal services to prosecutors, law enforcement, and veterinary professionals:
- Legal research: Performing legal research, formulating case strategies, and submitting amicus curiae briefs; providing sample pleadings, research memos, voir dire questions, jury instructions, and briefs on issues relevant to cruelty prosecutions
- Professional trainings: Leading accredited training programs for police and animal control officers, prosecutors, judges, and veterinarians specific to animal cruelty cases
- Grant funding: Offering grant money to help cover the costs of caring for seized animals, necessary forensic work, and obtaining expert witnesses
- Expert witnesses: Securing and funding expert witnesses including veterinarians, animal behaviorists, and experts on organized animal fighting and animal hoarding
- Legislative assistance: Producing model animal protection laws and annual Rankings Report on each state’s animal protection laws
The Animal Legal Defense Fund encourages citizens to report animal cruelty:
- Report animal cruelty to law enforcement. Animal cruelty is a crime: always call 9-1-1 if you witness animal cruelty.
- “But what if I don’t know the right agency to call?” If you don’t know the name of the jurisdiction or how to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency, call 9-1-1 and they will inform you.
- Contact us. If you have already reported your case to law enforcement, you can inform us of your case at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is not a law enforcement agency – your reporting the crime is the first important step toward justice in your case. Provide us with the name of the defendant, the county and state in which the crime occurred, the criminal charges, and a brief description of the crime. We can offer free legal assistance to prosecutors after criminal charges have been filed and will advise citizens, as appropriate.
Criminal Justice Program Team
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering our assistance in investigating the death of a zebra who died after being left out in last week's record breaking subzero weather in northern Indiana. We also renew our call for stronger animal protection laws.February 14, 2019 News
Animal Legal Defense Fund Publishes 2018 State Ranking ReportJanuary 8, 2019 Press Release
Building Successful Animal Cruelty Cases from the Crime Scene to Court Room: Training Washington State Law Enforcement Officers and ProsecutorsLaw enforcement officers and prosecutors who respond to crimes face a host of challenges. From neglected cows who are unable to testify, to dog fighting ‘evidence’ having puppies, the unexpected is a matter of course in the struggle against animal cruelty.November 7, 2018 News