|A gang member who tied a puppy's tail in a knot, dropped her in a vat of boiling water and repeatedly zapped her with a Taser gun was the first felony conviction by the city's new Animal Cruelty Task Force, officials announced Tuesday.
Aaron Jones, 26, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to three years in prison for abusing Sheila, his girlfriend's German shepherd-mix puppy, which managed to survive despite her injuries.
"We are putting the clamps, we are putting the leash, on animal cruelty in this city," Councilman Tony Cardenas said at a news conference at North Valley Animal Shelter in Cypress Park, where a fresh and frisky Sheila appeared for cameras.
"Talk about damage - we're gonna do damage to any community that does damage to animals."
The Animal Cruelty Task Force, founded last summer to stem a growing number of dog- and cockfights often associated with gangs, includes four Los Angeles animal control officers, two police detectives and a deputy city attorney.
It aims to not only prevent animals from being mauled in blood sports, but prevent a culture of human and domestic violence that can stem from cruelty to animals.
The task force, hatched by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was launched by Cardenas and Los Angeles Assistant Chief Sharon Papa and follows the lead of such cities as Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.
Since July, the team has investigated eight dog-fighting incidents and claims to have saved the
Investigations have resulted in two felony arrests, one felony prosecution and five felony filings.
Task force detectives last month seized 60 fighting chickens in Sun Valley and another 60 in Panorama City, for which a man faces charges of animal cruelty and illegal breeding and training of fighting birds.
"It's really tough to catch these guys," said task force Animal Services Capt. Wendell Bowers, of the secretive community of dog- and cockfighters. "If they don't know you, you're not in."
It was Los Angeles police Officer Gloria Fanning who responded to deadly weapon assault call and found Sheila traumatized by her wounds. An investigation found that Jones had tortured his girlfriend's dog, which Fanning has since adopted.
Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730
To report animal fights or abuse call the Animal Cruelty Task Force at (213) 847-1417.
About the Los Angeles Animal Cruelty Task Force
The Los Angeles Police Department has been working in partnership with the Department of Animal Services and the City Attorney's Office to create the first of its kind: a joint Animal Cruelty Task Force. On Wednesday, May 11, 2005, the full City Council approved of the establishment of the Task Force. To contact the task force, call 213-847-1417.
The Cruelty Task Force is comprised of LAPD Officers and Animal Control Officers. They can arrest, seize animals, enforce cruelty/animal-related laws.
The Animal Crime Investigations Bureau (ACIB) is recruiting volunteers who care about animals and understand the direct correlation between animal abuse and criminal behavior. You may be able to become a Level I or Level II officer and learn how to investigate animal cruelty crimes.
If you are interested in being a part of a unit dedicated to the protection of animals and want to combat crimes that research has proven progress to more serious violence, please contact Christine at (925) 487-4419.
* This website has no affiliation with the L.A. Task Force or ACIB. This information is provided as a public service only and deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. Please contact the Task Force or ACIB for further information or details.