For Immediate Release
July 17, 2019
ANIMAL ABUSE TASK FORCE HOSTS FIRST LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING
MOUNT CLEMENS, MI — Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith’s Office has worked with the U.S. Humane Society and Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham to host an animal abuse training with local law enforcement this Friday.
Earlier this year in May, Prosecutor Smith hosted a press conference in the lobby of the County Administration Building and announced the implementation of the Animal Abuse Task Force P.A.W.S., or Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety. P.A.W.S. is the first multi-jurisdictional animal abuse prevention task force in the State of Michigan. The purpose of the task force was to bring together key stakeholders representing law enforcement, government officials, animal welfare professionals, and animal rights enthusiasts to better fight the difficult nature of animal abuse.
Task Force members include: United States Humane Society spokesperson Molly Tumalevich, Senator Peter Lucido, Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, Michigan Humane Society representative Andy Seltz, Humane Society of Macomb representative Ken Kempkens, and Brian Pylar, Detroit Pit Crew Board Member & Chief of Eastpointe Animal Control.
Prosecutor Smith stated, “At our first Task Force meeting last month, everyone agreed that training must be a critical element in the fight against animal abuse.” Smith continued, “Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our first responders have the necessary tools to investigate these crimes so that we can successfully prosecute anyone that would abuse our beloved companions.”
The County’s Animal Control through the Sheriff’s Department has handled a number of high profile cases in recent months involving abuse, specifically hoarding. Resources are always a matter of concern when law enforcement is dealing with the welfare of large quantities of animals. Sheriff Anthony Wickersham, stated, “I’m excited to offer this important training to members of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.”
Molly Tumalevich, of the HSUS, echoed much of what Prosecutor Smith and Wickersham said, and added, “Animal cruelty crimes have been documented as connected with other violent crime, specifically domestic violence, child abuse, and elder abuse. We know addressing these cases keeps our community safe.”
The Humane Society’s Training will be this Friday, July 19th at the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department. The training is exclusive to members of the law enforcement community. The Task Force is also excited about key legislation being introduced this week by Task Force member, Senator Pete Lucido to help in the need to curb animal hoarding through proper oversight of rescues.