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ACS gets two animal-cruelty investigators

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Posted at 7:09 PM, Sep 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-05 20:25:22-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Animal Care Services is getting tougher on animal cruelty in Corpus Christi.

Two of its officers are now full-time animal-cruelty investigators.

Animal Care Services gets up to 25 animal-abuse complaints every week.

And its officers used to be responsible for investigating every one of those complaints, but now, there are trained investigators to get the job done.

Investigating a report of animal cruelty 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 Animal Care Services director Mike Gillis.

Now those officers can bring in one of two full-time investigators, such as Vanessa Scarbrough, who has 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.

But 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," she said.

And a way to show you Animal Care Services is doing what it can to crack down on animal abuse in the city.

"They're much better prepared when they get to court,” Gillis said. “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," Scarbrough said.