Pit bulls have a new friend in Harris County thanks to the district attorney’s office decision to move the Animal Cruelty Section to the recently created Special Victims Bureau. The changes, announced in December, became effective Jan 22, 2013.
Long-time animal cruelty prosecutor Belinda Smith will remain the county’s Animal Cruelty Specialist and joins other prosecutors in the Family Criminal Division of the Special Victims Bureau, which has three full-time investigators. Bureau leaders plan to provide animal cruelty cross training to some of the eight other attorneys in the division in an effort to offer more support to prosecuting animal cruelty cases.
Sara Marie Kinney, public relations officer for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said the former Animal Cruelty Section prosecuted two cases of animal cruelty in 2012. Joining the Special Victims Bureau is an opportunity to handle more cases successfully.
“ADA Smith has done an excellent job in the past of working with the community and media on outreach and raising awareness for rescue groups across the area ,” Kinney said. “The DA’s office looks forward to balancing with that more prosecutions and tougher punishments in a new bureau dedicated to some of our most vulnerable victims.”
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