ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — Alamance County’s district attorney hopes a team of prosecutors will help close more cases of animal cruelty in the area.
District Attorney Sean Boone announced Wednesday the Crimes Against Animals team will prosecute 45 pending animal crime cases.
“Animal cases, animal cruelty cases are the types of cases because the victims are not able to appear and speak for themselves have the potential to fall through the cracks,” he said.
Boone said the team of two prosecutors and a victim witness assistant will hold perpetrators accountable. He said cruelty can sometimes escalate to other forms of violence or lead investigators to other crimes inside a home.
“Somebody that abuses a child might abuse the animal as a way of disciplining the child. If the child does something wrong, they punish the animal because that will hurt the child,” he explained.
Boone’s office is also working on a 4-5 hour educational course with Burlington Animal Services for juvenile or less severe offenders.
“Information about responsible animal ownership, animal care and it will involve what the laws and ordinances are for this area,” explained Burlington Animal Services Manager Tamee Penley.
In North Carolina, the most severe punishment for animal cruelty is a Class H felony with no mandatory jail sentence.
Even without harsher penalties, Penley said the new team will help get justice.
“We want people in Alamance County to know that we are the voice for the animals, and obviously we’re being heard,” she said.