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Animal cruelty crackdown: Corpus Christi Animal Care Services adds full-time investigators

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Posted at 6:24 PM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 19:24:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — Animal Care Services is getting tougher on animal cruelty in Corpus Christi. Two of their officers are now full-time investigators.

There was a need for a move like this because animal care services gets up to 25 animal abuse complaints every week.

Their officers used to be responsible for investigating every one of those complaints, which is a tough job.

"Depending on the level of expertise of that animal control officer, it ended up not really being fair to our more inexperienced officers," said Mike Gillis, the director for Animal Care Services.

But now, there are trained investigators to get the job done. The officers can call on one of two full-time investigators like Vanessa Scarbrough, who have specialized training on how to investigate animal cruelty, from taking pictures to interviewing witnesses.

It's a change that came within the past eight months, and one they say was much needed.

"I couldn't come back to the office and spend the time that I needed to finish a case out from start to finish," said Scarbrough.

Now, the two investigators review complaints together and testify in court every Friday. They present up to three cases on those days.

"It was easier to close out cases, because I knew what to do to gather information to close out cases," said Scarbrough.

It's also a way to show you that Animal Care Services is doing what they can to crack down on animal abuse in the city.

"They're much better prepared when they get to court," said Gillis. "They've been able to be a lot more thorough in their investigation."

"I was able to get the resources I needed to actually follow through and make the difference that I was looking to make," said Scarbrough.

Animal Care Services does not plan to add any more investigators in the near future. However KRIS 6 is told in the short time these new full-time positions have been added, they started to win more cases in municipal court.

By the way, one recent case these investigators handled was the Trade Center Pet Shop case. More than 400 pets were seized from the owner, who was ordered to pay just over $30,000 in costs. The owner is appealing that ruling.