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Crime Stoppers of Houston and Community Partners Launch City-Wide Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce and Reporting Hotline

HOUSTON (February 20, 2018) – Crime Stoppers of Houston hosted a joint press conference today at the Crime Stoppers Building to launch a City-Wide Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce that will help streamline and improve the process of reporting animal cruelty in Harris County.

Speakers included Crime Stoppers Chief Executive Officer Rania Mankarious, Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, Houston Police Department Major Offenders Sergeant Jason Alderete, Harris County Animal Shelter Director Dr. Michael White, BARC Animal Shelter Director Greg Damianoff and Houston Humane Society Executive Director Sherry Ferguson. Houston PetSet co-founders Tena Faust and Tama Lundquist, drumBEAT Marketing President Robert Fisher and Adore Houston Rescue board members Andrea Jasso and Renee Fellat were also in attendance.

For nearly 40 years, Crime Stoppers of Houston has been focused on providing community solutions and filling the gap wherever possible to assist the critical and sensitive working relationship between law enforcement, the community and those in need. Over the years, concerned citizens have called Crime Stoppers with concerns regarding potential animal cruelty activity across our city and county, with many questions surrounding who and where to call to make a report.

In response, in April 2017, working alongside the leadership of Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap, Crime Stoppers of Houston formed a city-wide Anti-Animal Cruelty Partner Council to bring key stakeholders and agencies together to find solutions to the way crimes against animals are reported and responded to in Harris County and the City of Houston.

“With over 50 law enforcement agencies in Harris County, citizens often do not know where this type of abuse can be reported.” says Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap. “The council’s goal was to make it easy for citizens to report animal cruelty and neglect to the correct agency, thereby helping animals in need as quickly as possible. This also would free up resources that were incorrectly getting the calls.”

The council recognized that more needed to be done as a community to help the many voiceless animals being abused and neglected each day. Additionally, supporting evidence has shown there is a link between childhood animal cruelty and aggression toward humans as adults.

Following Hurricane Harvey, the council formed the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce to help streamline the reporting process. It established two ways citizens can make an animal cruelty report:
• By calling the reporting hotline 832-927-PAWS. This new hotline will speed up response times and minimize duplication of efforts across the county. The Harris County Animal Shelter call center has committed staff resources to field calls to this number.

• By submitting an online intake form online at www.927PAWS.org. The taskforce secured a partnership with drumBEAT Marketing and their website, www.Best4Pets.org. drumBEAT Marketing donated the time and service necessary to create this one-stop website where citizens can report animal cruelty through an online intake form and acquire information on all issues pertaining to animal welfare.
Both the hotline and the website offer the community an easy way to report animal cruelty to law enforcement.

The following things can be reported to the taskforce:
• Neglect
• Abuse
• Hoarding
• Torture
• Dog Fighting
In order to see the highest level of success, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office has added an additional Deputy to animal cruelty investigations, the Harris County Animal Shelter has dedicated animal control resources to assist in animal cruelty investigations and will handle medical evaluations for the animal cruelty cases, as well assist with animal transport and BARC Animal Shelter has committed two trained animal cruelty animal control officers which will be designated to help assist the taskforce with investigation.

Today was an important day for our community and animal population. A solution was created that will benefit many for years to come.

Through education, awareness and continued collaboration, the Harris County Animal Cruelty Taskforce is dedicated to not only protecting the animals, but also making our city a safer environment for all.

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