Harris County

Animal Abuse Task Force Gets Hundreds of Reports in First Months of Operation

Authorities say animal neglect and cruelty is still a big problem in the region. They hope a unified effort will lead to quicker action.


Animal abuse includes acts such as neglect, dumping, hoarding, torture, and dog fighting.

In its seven months of operation, authorities say the Harris County Animal Abuse Task Force has received over 2,700 reports, a big jump from the same period last year. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has gone on to file 172 charges.

The D.A.'s Office is part of the task force, along with local law enforcement agencies and animal welfare groups.

"When we have a unified effort like this we will see a difference," said Harris County Precinct 5 Constable Ted Heap.

Animal Cruelty Prosecutor Jessica Milligan added that the task force has streamlined the process for taking complaints, either by phone or by going to their website. That means investigators can get on the case quicker and compile evidence as to the nature of the suspected abuse.

"There are still people out there who are choosing to take the law into their own hands, and with good intention of course, of removing animals from property to try to heal them, to try to bring them to our office for investigation, and we're here to encourage you not to do that," said Milligan.

There is also a new organization that will help raise funds for the task force called "Paw and Order." That money will help pay for animal care and other needs.

You can contact the Harris County Animal Abuse Task Force online or by calling (832) 927-PAWS.


Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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