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Resources for Prosecutors

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Sherry Ramsey is The HSUS director of animal cruelty prosecutions. Photo by Grant Aleksander

  • Acting Associate A.G. Tony West and Acting Assistant A.G. for the Office of Justice Programs Mary Lou Leary attended U.S. DOJ's seminar on animal cruelty. Photo by Matthew Nichols/U.S. DOJ

  • At the U.S. Department of Justice seminar, Sherry Ramsey opened the first panel discussion, "Links Between Animal Cruelty and Interpersonal Violence: Victimization." Photo by The HSUS

  • Alongside forensic veterinarian Dr. Dana Miller and USDA-OIG agent Beth Dinkins, Sherry Ramsey presented an animal cruelty and fighting seminar for the FBI. Photo by The HSUS

The HSUS has a long history of collaborating with and training prosecutors to successfully prosecute animal cruelty cases.

Prosecutors are the key to ensuring that animal protection laws are enforced and abusers are punished.

Please browse this page and take special notice of our training opportunities and resources to help you win your case!

—Sherry Ramsey, Esq., Director of Animal Cruelty Prosecutions

Read "The Implications and Risks of Animal Cruelty, and How the Criminal Justice Community Can Help" »

View the Nov. 2013 issue of Deputy and Court Officer magazine (an issue dedicated to the topic of enforcing animal cruelty laws) »

Help with Cruelty Cases

Request assistance from our cruelty prosecution experts to help your office put together a successful case. We can provide:

• Legal research and writing—The HSUS provides detailed and reliable memoranda of law directly to prosecutors on specific cruelty cases. This includes advice and assistance with research on case law or legal issues as you prepare for trial.

• Expert witness advice and testimony—The HSUS maintains a substantial network of animal cruelty experts who can testify in animal cruelty cases, including:
     • species-specific veterinarians
     • animal scientists
     • animal behaviorists
     • psychologists versed in the links between animal cruelty and human violence, and how animal cruelty affects children
     • experts in investigations, cruelty laws, animal fighting, animal hoarding and more

• Media assistance (to generate favorable media coverage), amicus assistance (to give the court a new perspective) and research reports to ensure a successful case.

• In conjunction with the Animals and Society Institute, we also maintain a list of psychologists and counselors trained to provide targeted treatment to animal abusers.

Prosecutor Recognition

Congratulations to Assistant State’s Attorney, Adam Lippe, chief of the Animal Abuse Unit in Baltimore County, Maryland, for successfully prosecuting a challenging case of animal abuse against former NFL player Terrence Cody. The defendant and his girlfriend, Kourtney Kelley, committed extreme neglect against Cody's dog Taz, resulting in the dog’s death. Lippe sought the maximum sentence of three years for Cody and led a successful prosecution against Kelley, who was also implicated in the neglect of Taz. Read more »


We also offer "Illegal Animal Fighting: A Law Enforcement Primer for the Investigation of Cockfighting and Dogfighting" (for law enforcement only). Please email jgoodwin@humanesociety.org for access, and be prepared to verify your status as a law enforcement officer or officer of the court.

Guides and Manuals

The following investigation and prosecution guides are linked by permission and are for informational purposes only. They are the work of experts in the states specified, and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The HSUS. Nevertheless, they are excellent resources for cruelty investigators and prosecutors.

Prosecutor Training

The HSUS provides prosecutor training in many different forms. We work with prosecutor training organizations to provide expert legal training on prosecuting cruelty cases. For example, we offer:

  • Training for prosecutors in coordination with the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys as well as the National District Attorneys Association and other state prosecutor training institutes
  • Training for prosecutors, individualized at state and county levels around the country by our experts in cruelty prosecution
  • JAG training for animal cruelty cases charged under the uniform code of military justice

See a listing of upcoming and recent training seminars »

Contact us to set up a training for your office or group.

Past Training/Seminar Success

5th National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference

  • Sherry Ramsey and David LaBahn, president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys. Photo courtesy of Sherry Ramsey/The HSUS

The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA), in partnership with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), held the 5th National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference on November 4-6, 2015, in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The conference, hosted at the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, brought together prosecutors, investigators, veterinarians and other professionals in the criminal justice and animal welfare fields. The annual three-day conference is the best of its kind in the area of animal law, says Sherry Ramsey, HSUS director of animal cruelty prosecutions. Ramsey spoke at the conference and was honored to be a recipient of the 2015 Pursuit of Justice Award.