Temple: Animal Agencies Get Educated On Cruelty Crimes

By: Kristin Gordon Email
By: Kristin Gordon Email

TEMPLE (July 10, 2013) -- In March of 2013, nearly 100 dogs were rescued by the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Search warrants were executed by the FBI in Kansas, Missouri and Texas. The ASPCA's Field Investigations and Response Team played a major role in this dog fighting seizure.

Wednesday, in Temple, they shared their knowledge of animal cruelty.

Kathryn Destreza, Director of Investigations for the ASPCA Field Investigation and Response Team travels around the country and does work with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies or animal control agencies.

The team performs investigations, search and seizures, and crime scene work.

"We provide expert testimony for things if we need to," said Destreza. "We do anything animal cruelty related. we can help the federal state or local jurisdictions."

A day-long workshop was held at the Community Activities Center by Destreza, Adam Leath, Southeast Regional Director Animal Hoarding, and Terry Mills, Blood Sports Director.

Hoarding is in every community around the world, says Destreza, and people don't know what to do. How to get help.

"All of our topics are geared toward educating the audience and hopefully they take something home from these presentations," said Destreza.

"They are networking here and hopefully they are coming up with things around their own state that could help them."

According to Destreza, fighting dogs are trained like a boxer. They build up the cardiovascular breathing.

"But what dog fighters do in training is they take what is already inherent to the breed," said Destreza.

"Pitbulls have a desire to please and they have what is called gameness, so their desire to please is they will do it whether they are in pain, whether they are suffering.

They want to continue to do what pleases their owner. The owners take that, which is already in that breed, and just sort of focuses it on animal fighting.

So the animals are aggressive." She said that very few dog fighting dogs are actually people aggressive unless the owners truly are irresponsible.

But the animals are aggressive toward other animals because they are trained to be."

Money is to be made through puppy mills and dog fighting. They are only focused on profit, according to Destreza.

"They are selfish types of people who have lost focus as far as that the animals are living breathing things that feel pain.

And feel as they are starving to death.. that's a pain that they suffer through. As they are being attacked.

You know, so they are taking animals and using them for their benefit. To me ultimately, that's selfish."

Andy Montez, who has been a Belton Animal Control Officer for 2 years, found the event to be an eye-opening experience.

So far I have got a lot of knowledge, said Montez. "Just in the first briefing it opened my eyes to some of the things that I would have not normally paid attention to.

I am an observant type person, but he opened up more avenues and more ways of viewing things and people."

Montez says there is a strict ordinance on how many dogs and cats are allowed within the city limits.

"We work with them and try to control it before it becomes too much," said Montez. "And so the ordinance is set up to help those that continuously want to bring on animals.

You can get a permit, but its a strict set of guidelines that we give them."
Animal cruelty by people spans all types of species, says Destreza.

"You have the farming industry, puppy mills... People go to pet stores and buy puppies, but they don't know that behind the curtain, there's hundreds of animals suffering to produce those puppies so someone can have what they want.

Destreza says to get involved and understand the issues. "These are emotional and disturbing things that we deal with but you know I always think about one day I won't have a job because I won't have a need for a job.

And that's sort of my light at the end of a very long tunnel."

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