Amarillo, TX - Animal Control officers recently completed a week-long training course to become certified as National Animal Cruelty Investigators.
Teachers from the University of Missouri Extension Law Enforcement Training Academy traveled to Amarillo to teach the course. They offered extensive training on how to deal with animal cruelty cases and how to gather enough information to properly present cases in court.
"Animal cruelty classes that we go through are very important," said Animal Control officer Jason Cook. "It gives us all a chance to learn more about how to investigate them so we can do a better job getting them prosecuted. If people need to go to jail for it, we're better witnesses so that we can prosecute them better."
"When we have access to this level of training, it really makes it nice to get these guys through and get them exposed to some things that they normally might not see, and may never see in their career," said Assistant Director of Animal Control Shannon Barlow. "But a good knowledge of how to work the case is always better to be prepared for how we present that case later."
Barlow said Animal Control officers need specialty training because of the types of cases they handle in Amarillo. "Blood sports are around, where you have people fighting dogs. And with fighting dogs, you've got gambling, you've got guns, a lot of drugs and different things that are associated with that. So that brings in a lot of different agencies on those particular cases. So unfortunately, we do have that level of need for training."
She said they also deal with a lot of cases involving abuse of exotic animals. Almost half of their officers are now certified for animal cruelty investigations. Staff members from the Humane Society and some local law enforcement officers also gained certification through the course.
Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10