Animal cruelty cases on the rise, but so are charges against abusers

No doubt animal cruelty is a problem in Harris County.

"Just because you're not seeing it, doesn't mean it's not going on," said Dr. Jennifer Hennessy with Animal ER Northwest Houston.

In 2018, law officers from various agencies came together to form the Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force.

"Now there is one resource to go to when you hear about animal cruelty. You can call one number or one website and report," said Tama Lundquist with Houston PetSet.

In 2019, the task force says it investigated 4,315 animal cruelty cases involving 10,649 animals. 174 criminal charges were filed.

When comparing figures from 2018 with last year, the task force says cruelty reports have increased 112 percent. Written reports of suspected abuse are up 238 percent.

Last year 672 animals were seized an increase of 194 percent and 1,226 animals were rescued from abuse. That's an increased 187 percent.

"If we don't know about the abuse or the suspected abuse, there's nothing we can ultimately do," said Sergeant Charles Jentzen with the task force.

"I see some things you don't even want to think about," said Hennessy said. "The reality is without seeing that I wouldn't be nearly as passionate and know more about what the vision should be for the rest of us in our community on how to take better care of the animals that are living voiceless."