Operation Kindness Blog

Operation Kindness hosts animal cruelty discussion with Dallas officials, animal cruelty experts

Speakers from the "Coffee, Donuts and Dogs" animal cruelty discussion.

Saturday, March 2, Operation Kindness hosted a “Coffee, Donuts and Dogs” event at their Carrollton shelter to discuss animal cruelty in Dallas, as well as the organization’s participation in offering free forensic exams for animal cruelty victims.

Operation Kindness CEO Ed Jamison, as well as representatives from the Dallas Police Department, Dallas Animal Services (DAS), Operation Kindness’ Community Initiatives team and the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN), gave attendees an update on the state of animal cruelty in the city, discussed the legal process for animal cruelty cases and the partnership between Operation Kindness and the city.

The importance of animal cruelty work

According to Jamison, in just 2023 alone, 3,476 animals of all breeds and species came into the care of Dallas Animal Services for suspected cruelty.

“The volume is pretty immense,” Jamison said. “So, you can see why it takes a team effort.”

Several of the speakers also emphasized the importance of reporting incidents of animal cruelty not just to protect animals but also to protect people in the future. Shelby Bobosky, THLN’s executive director, recalled the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that took place in 2022.

“The shooter down there was actively torturing and killing animals,” Bobosky said. “He had been for quite some time, and nobody reported him.”

Jamison echoed this sentiment, noting that sometimes, these acts of animal cruelty can be an indicator of similar abuse to people.

Forensic examinations agreement

Jamison shared that around a year ago, he learned that the city of Dallas and Dallas Animal Services needed assistance providing potential victims of animal cruelty with forensic examinations, as well as testimony in proceeding legal actions for those cases.

“We became aware that there was a gap that needed to be filled,” Jamison said. “Operation Kindness now does the forensic examinations of the animals and provides testimony.”

The partnership seemed natural, as Operation Kindness transfers more animals from DAS per year than any other shelter partner in the city.

“We made the commitment that we were going to really double down on our efforts on being the best partner that we could to get as many animals out of DAS as we can,” he said. “and when they can be cruelty animals, that is terrific.”

Preventative work

Dr. Rachel Redd, Chief Community Initiatives Veterinarian at Operation Kindness, also spoke to attendees, shedding light on why some forms of animal cruelty happen and how Operation Kindness and other organizations are working to prevent it. Redd said that animal cruelty can often stem from pet owners not having the resources to care for their animals accordingly, which can lead to starvation, illness and neglect.

“Access to care is a vital component to keeping your pet healthy and in the home,” Redd said, noting that there are “veterinary deserts” where community members don’t have access to affordable or local pet care. She said this can sometimes back people into a corner where they don’t want to abandon or neglect their pets but can feel like they don’t have any other options.

Operation Kindness’ Pet Food Pantry provided nearly 155,000 pounds of pet food to those in need last year and works with local shelters across the region to provide regular lost-cost or free vaccine and wellness clinics to those who need it most.

How you can help

Speakers emphasized the public’s need to get involved with local legislation to help enact change and lower animal cruelty cases. Those in attendance were urged to vote, regardless of political leanings, and to call their representatives and express the importance of supporting laws and regulations to help keep our animals safe.

“We need your help at the capital,” said Bobosky. “It’s a two-minute phone call; it’s easier than ordering a pizza. Call up your representative.”

Jamison said if you witness an act of animal cruelty, contact 9-1-1. This will begin the investigation process and is the best way to ensure the police have a thorough case.

Dallas Police Detective Mike Bono shared that once a complaint is filed and an allegation has been made, they can then work on removing that animal. From there, Operation Kindness and DAS step in to help with the next steps, which include transporting, housing and examining the animals involved. All of these steps play pivotal roles in creating a case.

Bobosky noted that while sometimes you may see an act of animal cruelty displayed on social media and be concerned that steps haven’t been taken, often those involved are working to build the best case possible.

“There’s an investigation and there’s protocols so that the detective, our veterinarians [and others] can do their work to bring the best case available,” Bobosky said.

Photos from the event can be found here.

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