Alachua County Hopes to Keep Animal Cruelty Convictions Up
Within the last three years, Alachua County Animal Services have had a one hundred percent conviction rate. They not only stay busy in house, but also in the field promoting animal education. They are also intensifying their fight against animal cruelty.
"Finally after years of being in the business we're taking things criminally now, not just civil. Not just gonna get a slap on the wrist anymore," said Jen Ritchey with Alachua County Animal Services.
From 2006 to 2008, the State Attorney's Office tried 384 animal cruelty cases and won all of them. The attorneys who try these cases said that animals are people's responsibility and lawbreakers will be prosecuted.
For example, James Earl Dennis, a registered dog breeder, appeared in court today for a hearing after being charged with causing pain, death and suffering to animals. Animal control officers removed twenty six dogs from his property last year and officers said they were chained to trees and did not have enough food or water. James Earl Dennis has another hearing scheduled for March 12th.
"I have seen an increase in cruelty cases, not sure if it's cause the economy or environment around us, but there is an increase," Ritchey said.
Two years ago animal services workers said they found a scratched up pitbull who they suspect was bait for a fighting ring and then tossed out.
Just recently, a miniature horse was attacked by two dogs but the owner turned the dogs over and they were put down.
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