One of the most frustrating things for lawyers in private practice who wish to help animals is the fact that cruelty laws, the basic animal protection statutes, are criminal laws. Thus, with a few exceptions, enforcement of the laws is left completely in the hands of the local D.A. If he or she is not interested, end of story.
That’s why it’s always interesting to see lawyers try to find a way to confront that roadblock. Pennsylvania is a state where advocates have had some success on this front because of their system of having court appointed humane society police officers with state-wide jurisdiction. One of those officers has recently brought a petition for a writ of mandamus against a Berks County district attorney who asked the court to dismiss the charges she had brought against a local pigeon shoot. The lawsuit is supported by SHARK (Showing Animals Respect and Kindness). It will be interesting to see how this one comes out.