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Put the Panic on Hold: The DA's Office Will Still Prosecute Animal Cruelty Cases

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Houston animal advocates have notified Hair Balls about a recent post by animal law specialist Clarissa Kay Bauer that suggests new District Attorney Mike Anderson has all but relegated animal cruelty cases to the trash heap, but this does not appear to be the case.

From what the office's spokeswoman, Sara Kinney, tells us, it looks like there's some misunderstanding over a reorganization: Long-time animal cruelty prosecutor Belinda Smith has been moved into the Family Criminal Division of the newly created Special Victims Bureau, where she will remain the animal cruelty specialist. The division has three full-time investigators, and other attorneys in the division are expected to be cross-trained in animal cruelty cases, so, if anything, Smith will have more support than before, Kinney says.

"We want more prosecutors to be able to handle these cases going forward," Kinney says.

This is reassuring. And the good news is, we'll all be able to tell if it's just spin by the number of animal cruelty cases filed in the coming months. But for now, it seems, the sky isn't falling.

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