Animals are represented by a specific state office in criminal cases (animal mistreatment and minor cases) during investigation, during court proceedings or when in front of commissions for minor cases. They also have full rights of appeal up to the highest courts.
Idea behind this:
Animal mistreaters can defend themselves before commissions, police officers, state veterinarians and (higher and minor) courts. They can choose an attorney to defend them. Animals, however, very often owned by the mistreater themselves, depend on the state to defend them. If this duty is left to the state attorneys without changing the law, the animals are often helpless and their interests not legally represented. Animal workers’ organizations either do not know the case or they often have a lack of a legal status during this procedure. This legal position can therefore be given to a specially designated state office such as the state veterinarian (in the Swiss Canton of Zurich) or a special body (such as the ‘Ombudsleute - Ombudsman’ in Austrian districts). They file or at least are involved in the case from beginning to end. They know the witness’ declaration, they can demand special legal or veterinarian expertise and can make an appeal to higher authorities.
Law enforcement is supported by specialists and is under supervision. The expected results are a larger amount of cases, more diligence in the investigation and decisions, and higher fines and penalties.
The national or district animal legislation or criminal procedure code allows this kind of special duty at local level as an instrument of better law enforcement.