The office of an official “Animal Attorney in criminal cases” is created at local level. This person has been proposed by the animal welfare and animal rights organizations and appointed by the local government. He or she represents the animal’s interests in front of police officers, state attorneys, judges of all levels, and minor courts. The interests of the animal are represented in the above mentioned animal cruelty procedures and in minor animal legislation breaches.
Idea behind this:
Besides the advantages of a ‘state voice’, the “Animal Attorney” profits from the confidence invested in him or her by the animal workers’ organizations. They risk losing their nomination after a certain period of time if confidence is lost in them. This can be due to them not being active or trustful enough, being overactive, or losing credibility with the public or the officials. Depending on the criminal procedure code, this person respects the secrecy of the investigation and criminal procedure until the mistreater has been convicted or has been found not guilty. Within this secrecy, the Animal Attorney is free to speak on these kinds of animal cases in public. This gives animals a voice both here and also via mass media and public opinion. Based on the attorney’s experience, he or she can propose refinements to the education of the officers, plus expanding guidelines for fines and punishments. He or she is paid by the state on the basis of the time invested per case.
By supporting the law enforcement officials, the “Animal Attorney” stands for more transparency and for animal issues being taken more seriously in public. The animal workers’ organizations are indirectly involved in the law enforcement procedure and have an influence on the decision through a person who officially speaks for them for a certain period of time. The process of evaluating and controlling the “Animal Attorney” brings the animal workers’ organizations closer together.
To give animal workers’ organizations such a direct voice strengthens their position, collects their experience and they become closer to their members’ interests. The issues that are to be looked at more closely include: the secrecy during investigation and procedure, private funding and possibly agenda-driven motivation.