Law enforcement

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2005:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, on January
18 reassigned four deputies and four civilian investigators to handle
animal abuse cases fulltime, and authorized the county Animal
Cruelty Prevent-ion Unit to immediately arrest and jail suspects.
Arpaio put former Phoenix mayor Thelda Williams in charge of the
unit. Arpaio also disbanded the Maricopa County SWAT team, in favor
of a part-time SWAT unit, and told critics that prosecuting animal
abuse brings better crime prevention for the money than having a SWAT
Arpaio’s web site describes a no-kill animal shelter he
opened in 1999 in a former jail, to house animals seized from
suspects in cruelty cases. The shelter “also houses the pets of
individuals who check into domestic violence shelters that do not
accept pets,” the site says. “Detention officer staff and sentenced
female inmates care for the animals. The shelter is air-conditioned.
Some critics have said that it is inhumane to put dogs and cats in
air-conditioned quarters when inmates don’t have air-conditioning. A
good answer came from one of the inmates assigned to care for the
dogs. When asked if she was resentful about not having
air-conditioning, she gestured to some of the dogs and said, “They
didn’t do anything wrong, I did.”

Gerald Barnhart, director of the Division of Fish,
Wildlife, & Marine Resources for the New York State Depart-ment of
Environmental Conservation, promised PETA in October 2002 that
members of his staff would stop telling callers to kill animals by
cruel and illegal means. A DEC officer had advised a caller from
Long Island to drown feral cats. On January 11, 2005, a PETA
undercover investigator who called the DEC office Syracuse was told
by DEC agent Shawn J. Dussault how to drown, strangle, and shoot
“nuisance” species, including cats. The 15-minute taped
conversation was posted to the PETA web site. PETA called for
Barnhart and Dussault to resign.

Interrupted on February 7 by Monmouth County SPCA law
enforcement chief Victor Amato while allegedly choking and beating
his estranged wife’s Yorkshire terrier, one Angel Baez of North
Middletown, New Jersey, turned on Amato instead, wielding a pair
of “escrima sticks,” a martial arts weapon. What Baez did not know
is that Amato, 50, has a 10th degree karate black belt. Baez ended
up in jail in lieu of $40,000 bail, the dog was placed with a foster
family, and the martial arts school that Amato runs in his off hours
got a lot of good press.

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