A state attorney is working to protect animals in Central Florida.
State Attorney Bill Gladson has established an Animal Cruelty Task Force for Citrus, Hernando, Marion, Lake, and Sumter counties.
The task force was created to effectively investigate and prosecute animal cruelty crimes throughout the Fifth Judicial Circuit in Florida.
The task force includes the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, county animal services and local law enforcement agencies.
Along with the task force, Gladson has created an animal cruelty unit within the State Attorney’s Office, made up of assistant state attorneys with the interest, experience and knowledge necessary to bring justice to animal victims.
Members of the community will also play a pivotal role by alerting police and animal services when animal neglect and abuse are suspected.
“My office is committed to aggressively prosecuting animal cruelty cases, and I am grateful for the team which shares our commitment,” Gladson said. “The reach of these crimes goes beyond harm to innocent animals; these criminals pose a risk to the entire community.”
According to a news release, animal cruelty is commonly linked with violence against people, domestic violence, and criminal enterprises.
Nearly 70% of animal abusers have criminal records and animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
For more information regarding the link between animal abuse and other forms of violence, CLICK HERE.