Working to reduce animal violence in Kansas

Kansas State Flag

TOPEKA, Kan. – A Kansas animal welfare group has created a new program to reduce animal violence in 23 Kansas counties.

The project, Cruelty Stoppers, opens the door to care for abused animals that can be linked to domestic violence cases while trying to create better relationships between Topeka police and local shelters, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. It was developed by the Northeast Kansas Animal Welfare Foundation.

Bill Acree, the foundation’s new president and CEO, said the project was created because there wasn’t adequate follow-up on cruelty cases. The Cruelty Stoppers program was modeled after Crime Stoppers on TV. Those who report animal cruelty cases that lead to a conviction are eligible for a reward.

Acree said the Shawnee County district attorney and sheriff and the Topeka interim police chief acknowledged the need for the program. He said many animals are abandoned or neglected across Kansas.

“We would need a bigger staff,” Acree said. “Statewide, it would be wonderful if we could stop animal abuse.”

But he said the abuse can’t stop without the public informing authorities about a crime.

“That’s where we step in and say: ‘We would like to reward you for the word you gave that led to this (arrest),’” Acree said. “Obviously, to arrest and convict a dog-fighting ring would be worth a lot more money than someone who tied up their kitty in a sack and threw it over the bridge.”

Kerry Crotinger, the foundation’s chairman, said people who mistreat animals sometimes move on to abusing other people.

“Now that people are aware,” Crotinger said, “when they know that there is a program like this out there, they are better able to assist a local shelter. Everything goes back to attacking the innocent or the ones not willing to speak for themselves because that dog or cat can’t make a phone call.”