December 11, 2015
Resources for Prosecutors
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
- Training Opportunities »
- Help with Cruelty Cases »
- Prosecutor Recognition »
- Publications »
- Guides and Manuals »
- Other Legal Resources »
- Past Seminar Successes »
• 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) »
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.
Congratulations to Assistant District Attorney Rob Freyer of Montgomery County, Texas, for obtaining a conviction in an animal dragging case. A.D.A. Freyer charged that the defendant used a motor vehicle as a deadly weapon in the commission of an offense, which elevated the animal cruelty charge to a third degree felony. After overcoming several hurdles in this prosecution, he succeeded in getting a conviction that resulted in a five-year prison sentence for the defendant. Read more »
- The Implications and Risks of Animal Cruelty, and How the Criminal Justice Community Can Help (U.S. Department of Justice blog)
- Prosecuting Puppy Mill and Other Large-Volume Cruelty Cases [PDF]
- Enforcing State Animal Cruelty Laws: Part I - Interpreting the Laws to Obtain Successful Prosecutions [PDF]
- Enforcing State Animal Cruelty Laws: Part II - Working with the Laws We Have [PDF]
- Protecting Domestic Violence Victims by Protecting Their Pets: The Overlooked Victims of Domestic Violence [PDF]
- First Strike: The Violence Connection [PDF]
- Juveniles and Crimes of Animal Cruelty [PDF]
We also offer "Illegal Animal Fighting: A Law Enforcement Primer for the Investigation of Cockfighting and Dogfighting" (for law enforcement only). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for access, and be prepared to verify your status as a law enforcement officer or officer of the court.
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.
- How to Prosecute Animal Cruelty in Georgia
- How to Investigate Animal Cruelty in N.Y.
- How to Investigate Animal Cruelty in Vermont
- Primer for Investigating Cruelty in Texas
- Pursuing Animal Abuse Cases in Texas
- ACO Training Manual Texas
- Join a Google group of prosecuting attorneys to discuss legal issues and problems in prosecuting cruelty cases, and have access to prosecutors from all over the country.
- Contact The HSUS director of animal cruelty prosecutions, Sherry Ramsey, Esq.
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.
5th National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference
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.