Members of animal related organizations know how to file charges with success. They are well trained in the legal field – on evidence, on witnesses, on using the correct wording, on using real facts and on which office the charge has to be submitted to. They know if, how and when to get support from the media. They also know when the name of the filed person can be made public without legal consequences for the animal workers. We give the term ‘animal workers’ to people who care for animals directly. We also use the term for people who work in animal shelters, work for animal welfare and animal rights, or work as veterinarians, as farmers or in zoos, etc. These people understand the legislation on animal cruelty and animal mistreatment. They also know the basic procedure for administrative and penal cases. They can decide whether to support a charge by the state attorney, the police or the veterinarian office and provide them with the information and pieces of evidence needed. They can compare the case with similar older cases and can track the cases carefully.
Idea behind this:
Charges in animal cases that are not successful often lead to frustration by the animal related organizations (there is no criminal conviction or no fine or no other direct reaction taken in favor of the suffering animal). Confidence in the law and the offices gets worse and interest in animal case scandals by the media grows. The law has to be enforced and the punishments handed out are intended to prevent other mistreatment cases. A media campaign does not replace this issue. The success of a charge therefore depends on knowing the following: how to track a case exactly, how to get the pieces of evidence, how to interrogate the witnesses and how to decide where to place the complaint.
The success of a criminal procedure against animal offenders often depends on the quality of the complaint. Witnesses of animal abuse can make a complaint. By doing this it helps the law to be respected. They are thankful for the knowledge and expertise of animal working organizations. The more professional the support the less time is lost, the better the evidence is, and the chances of a fast investigation by the police or the veterinarian authorities with the support of the organization increases. When cases are tracked reliably and this is supported by the organization, it helps the political procedure if the non-enforcement of the law has to be proven to politicians and the public.
By bringing in this knowledge and expertise the animal issue gains credibility among the authorities, the public and the media. The ratio of more successful cases and higher fines and penalties grows. The authorities take the issue more seriously by being watched closely by legally competent, animal working organizations.
The legally relevant cases can be outsourced to attorneys specialized in animal law and in the procedure regulations. Groups of specialized, private attorneys with animal interests can be created. Organizations can also be created that follow up the cases with evidence of animal mistreatment. They can add more information to the charge to be filed and organize the documentation. Often, these groups do not play a special legal role if the mistreater is the animal’s owner. Depending on the legislation and legal practice, they have no full access to the police file or court file and cannot represent the animal in court nor appeal against a verdict of not guilty. (Official animal attorneys or legally designated organizations can represent the animal’s interests in court and at offices instead.)