Workshop shows combating animal cruelty helps fight other crime - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Workshop shows combating animal cruelty helps fight other crime

MT. PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Animal cruelty is often associated with other crimes like gang activity and domestic violence. That's why the Humane Society of the United States held a seminar Friday, for local enforcement agencies. By recognizing the gravity of animal cruelty, leaders feel the Lowcountry will be better at fighting crime.

14 different agencies participated in the 8-hour seminar, held at the Mt.. Pleasant Police Department. Local and national experts, with backgrounds in dog fighting, cockfighting and illegal animal abuse, lead the classes and exercises.

"Currently in South Carolina, our animal cruelty laws are pretty weak," said SC State Director of the Humane Society of the United States. "We rank 46th in the nation and so that's why it's important that when there is illegal animal cruelty that our law enforcement officers are properly trained. That they have the best tools necessary so that when they do an investigation, it can be as thorough as possible and hopefully that will lead to a conviction."

The workshop clarified things like how animal cruelty can be treated as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the treatment.

"I think it's important for the public to know that if they see animal cruelty, they should contact their local law enforcement or the Humane Society of the United States," said Kelly. "We do offer rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of animal fighting."

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