Animal Cruelty Has Risen. According to the Seattle Times and Q13 Fox Seattle, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had filed 19 animal cruelty cases so far this year. These case include 12 counts of first-degree felony animal cruelty. In comparison, the office filed only nine cases in 2019 and 10 in 2018.
King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tali Smith chimed in on the subject.
“It’s concerning when we’re filing (more cases) in one month this year … than (all of) last year,” she said. And we’re concerned about these animals and the neglect or violence they’re suffering from.”
The office has also filed two felony animal fighting charges, the most recent case involving 91 roosters.
“My guess is that the pandemic has been hard on a lot of people, both in terms of their resources and their mental health. And so it’s kind of a pressure-cooker situation. You have people that are angry and they’re at home a lot. That anger can be taken out on an animal.” ~King County Deputy Prosecutor Tali Smith.
Smith added, however, that there’s no definitive evidence of the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on animal abuse cases.
“It’s just what we know about people, what we know about violence and these cases,” she said. “And we’ve seen violence increase in the other areas of our office. It makes sense that with this other vulnerable population, we also see an increase.”
Prosecutors are reporting animal cruelty cases in King County, like cases in other categories of crime such as homicides, domestic violence and shootings, have increased this year, raising concern among law enforcement and animal agencies and prompting them to remind residents to report any issues they might see involving animal care.
The prosecuting attorney’s office filed 1,103 felony domestic violence cases between January and October, including assaults and homicides – an increase from the 983 cases filed during the same period last year.
The increase in animal cruelty cases has also worried prosecutors who have studied the connection between violence against animals and violence against people, Smith said.
According to the news articles, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which aims to protect animals in the legal system, said animal abusers are five times as likely to also harm people. The organization references a 2013 study that found 43% of people involved in “school massacres” have also committed violence against animals, usually dogs and cats.
Please contact my office if you, a friend or family face Animal Abuse charges. Hiring an experienced and effective criminal defense attorney is the first and best step towards justice.