Animal Cruelty Unit
The Animal Cruelty Unit is a specialized division of the DA’s office dedicated to protecting animals from neglect and mistreatment. The vision of the new Unit is to be the voice for the voiceless, ensure justice and maintain safety for all Dallas County citizens. There is extensive, well documented research that confirms the strong correlation between violence to animals and violence to people.
With over 2,500 cases of animal cruelty reported in 2012, animal cruelty continues to be a serious problem throughout Dallas County. Recognizing the need for effective prosecution of offenders that neglect, torture and kill animals, the DA’s office sends a strong message to their perpetrators: Dallas County will not tolerate animal abuse.
Dallas County Commissioner Elba Garcia initiated a collaborative effort, bringing together the District Attorney’s Office, former Dallas County Commissioner Maureen Dickey, Gary Griffith representing Safer Dallas Better Dallas, and a variety of animal advocates, all of who were instrumental in the formation of the Dallas County Animal Cruelty Unit.
Felony Trial Bureau Chief, David Alex oversees the unit comprised of Assistant District Attorney Amber Givens and Investigator Steve Wilson.
Texas Animal Cruelty Laws
With regards to domesticated animals or livestock, Texas law prohibits the follow: torturing an animal; failing to provide necessary food, care, or shelter; abandoning an animal; transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner; killing, seriously injuring, or poisoning an animal; causing an animal to fight with another animal; using a live animal as a lure in a dog race; tipping a horse; injuring an animal belonging to another person.
Additionally, Texas law prohibits dogfighting and cockfighting, and activities such as being a spectator, or participation in the earnings or operations of a dogfighting or cockfighting facility.
What is the punishment for breaking the law?
Depending on the type of abuse, the punishment ranges from up to 1 year in jail and up to $4,000 fine, all the way up to ten years in the penitentiary and up to a $10,000 fine.
The District Attorney’s office is responsible for prosecuting these types of cases committed in Dallas County. The DA’s office must delegate and rely on the appropriate law enforcement agencies to investigate potential cases so that we can effectively and efficiently handle the case once an abuser is formally charged. Therefore, if you are reporting an instance of suspected animal cruelty, please contact the appropriate law enforcement agency listed below. You may also contact the SPCA of Texas directly at 214-461-1850.
|Addison||972-450-2845 or 7156||Glen Heights||972-223-2107 x261|
|Balch Springs||972-913-3006||Highland Park||214-521-5000|
|Cedar Hill||972-291-5100 x2143||Irving||972-721-2256|
|Dallas||311 or 214-670-6800||Richardson||972-744-4480|
|Garland||972-205-3570 or 3545||University Park||214-987-5371|