Cedar Rapids Police Department sees increase in animal abuse investigations

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – The Cedar Rapids Police Department sees an increase in animal abuse investigations, with numbers from January 1, 2021 to July 2021 more than doubling throughout 2020.

At a City Public Safety and Youth Services Council meeting this week, Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman reported that the department was involved in 11 animal abuse cases over the six first months of 2021. That’s up from four in 2020. Nine of those 11 investigations this year led to an arrest.

The department also saw four more arrests for animal neglect.

Cedar Rapids Constable Chris Collins is implicated in the animal abuse and neglect cases the department is investigating. He says the increase is in part due to the new state law that opens doors, saying that “it has given the police department more opportunities to investigate and charge at the state level. rather than at city level .

The ministry gave several reasons for the high number of investigations, including special training for officers and obtaining more reports on these cases.

He also mentioned the importance for people to report when they see abuse. “Part of the online social media presence we’ve put in has kind of helped increase reporting. “

Iowa passed a bill earlier this year increasing the penalties for animal abuse. It states that if an animal were seriously injured or killed as a result of abuse or neglect, the felony would be an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by up to two years in prison.

Jan Erceg sees abused animals pass through Cedar Rapids Critter Crusaders every month. One of the most publicized cases this year – and a success story – is Kimble. It is a puppy who came to the association with two fractured legs of its owner, throwing him to the ground and kicking him. “Kimble has really solidified people by wanting to pursue this business, by wanting legal entities to look into it,” Erceg said.

That owner, Jayden Cliff, was sentenced to two years in prison in May for animal abuse.

Erceg says she is encouraged by the increase in the number of investigations, saying, “This gives all of us in the animal welfare and rescue world a lot of hope. That there are more good people than bad. But we have to hold people accountable for their actions. “

Cedar Rapids Police encouraged anyone who witnessed animal abuse to speak up and report it – by calling 319-286-5993.

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