LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The Humane Society of the United States is working to better equip law enforcement officials in Oklahoma with the tools they need when dealing with animal cruelty and abuse cases.
More than 100 officers from the FBI, Comanche County Sheriff's Department, Lawton Police Department, Lawton Animal Welfare and other area agencies attended a seminar at Great Plains Technology Center. Participants were instructed on the proper procedures and questions to ask when working on a cases of suspected animal abuse.
It's hard to be fully prepared to report to a scene where you find animals suffering or in horrible living conditions. However, images were shown to the group of officers so they will know what they will be up against and how to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Roy Roderick, a Lawton Animal Welfare officer, says handling a human crime scene is different handling a crime in which pets or animals are involved.
"The right pictures, getting all the evidence that we can, the food you know if it's in good quality, a good quality of food," Roderick said.
The class was also taught what red flags to look out for.
"The cleanliness of the property, if it's adequate shelter by code. The condition of the animal if it appears to be in good health, runny nose, watery eyes, loose stools that's all something in an overall view to look for," Roderick said.
Cynthia Armstrong, the senior state director of the Humane Society, organized Tuesday's seminar. She says preventing this kind of violence can prevent violence against humans.
"It's well documented that violence to animals can lead to crimes against people. So, while we have very good animal cruelty laws and animal fighting laws in Oklahoma, we want to make sure those are investigated not only to protect the animals but to keep future crimes toward human beings," Armstrong said.
Each officer was given a tactical bag with everything they need to conduct an investigation once they arrive to the scene of an animal cruelty cases from writing down the case number to collecting evidence in Ziploc bags and even taking photos on a brand new Canon camera.
The officers were also trained to give first responder treatment to the animals on scene. Armstrong says big or small, wild or domestic, the Humane Society will find a home for the animal.
The Humane Society is funded purely on donations. If you would like to help fund the organization, or rescue an animal, check out their website.