On Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia, along with Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins and Gary Griffith representing Safer Dallas Better Dallas, will be holding a press conference announcing a new effort to combat animal abuse.

Commissioner Elba Garcia will announce the creation of an Animal Cruelty Unit within the District Attorney’s Office that will focus on the investigation and prosecution of offenders that neglect, torture and kill animals in Dallas County. Commissioner Garcia spearheaded the collaboration, bringing together the District Attorney’s Office, Safer Dallas Better Dallas and animal advocates to create the unit.  Commissioner Maurine Dickey and her husband Roland have committed to making a generous donation to help begin the effort.

The new Animal Cruelty Unit will be made up of one new Assistant District Attorney and one new Criminal Investigator position. These positions will cost around $200,000 annually and Safer Dallas Better Dallas has committed to fund the first year and start a fundraising and awareness campaign to support the Unit.

With over 2500 cases of animal cruelty reported thus far in 2012, animal cruelty is a problem in Dallas County. There is extensive and well-documented research that confirms the strong connection between violence to people and violence to animals. Animal cruelty investigation and prosecution allows law enforcement officials and advocates a unique opportunity to play an integral role in protecting people and animals from violence. Cross-reporting, data-sharing, investigation, evidence collection and increasing public awareness will prove effective in the fight against animal neglect, abuse, and killing.

The Animal Cruelty Unit will be briefed to Dallas County Commissioners Court on Tuesday December 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM. Commissioners Court will vote on the item the following Tuesday, December 11, 2012. Dr. Elba Garcia invites community members, advocates, and the press to join in the effort by attending the press conference Tuesday, December 4th  at 11 AM and encourages supporters to sign up to speak to Dallas County Commissioner’s Court prior to the press conference.

To register to speak at Commissioners Court please call the Court Clerk’s Office at (214) 653-7165 no later than 4:00PM Monday December 3, 2012. 

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