During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a spike in cases of abuse. As we approach a post-pandemic world, animal cruelty is still on-the-rise. 

According to Plano Animal Director Jamey Cantrell, most cruelty cases involve the owner neglecting their own pets, and since the pandemic numbers have risen. 

“The number of cruelty cases we’ve handled have increased post-pandemic,” Plano Animal Services Director Jamey Cantrell told Local Profile.” These are still ongoing cases so I can’t provide any additional details at this point.” 

But this isn’t an issue solely in Collin County. The Dallas Express explained that Dallas also saw a drastic increase in animal abuse in the past two years. 

The Dallas Police Department (DPD) saw a nearly 30% increase in reported incidents over 2021. DPD told the Dallas City Council about the increase during the last meeting, citing 125 cases through December 6, in the same period last year, only 28 cases had been reported.

“During COVID, we definitely know that animal abuse increased because people were stuck at home with those who can’t speak –whether they were children or animals– and statistics show that animal abuse was on the rise,” Shelby Bobosky, executive director of the Texas Humane Legislation Network and an animal law professor at Southern Methodist University, told The Dallas Express.

Bobosky also explained that Dallas is one of the only places in Texas that have a dedicated animal cruelty unit in its police force. She said the lack of animal cruelty units in Texas ultimately comes down to a lack of funding and understanding. 

Despite ongoing investigations and resources in North Texas, animal cruelty is still far higher than in the past and it is important to report any suspicions of cruelty. 

Cantrell told Local Profile it’s better to investigate situations early on before they get out of hand than it is for someone to wait and see if things get better. Animal cruelty cases are often investigated the same way as homicides.

If people are struggling to take care of their pets, they can call Animal Services at (972) 769-4360 to ask for assistance or to get directed to resources that they can take advantage of.  Residents can also call and report concerns about other animals to the same number. 

If someone is in an abusive situation and either their pets also suffer from abuse or they are worried about their animals becoming a target of the abuser, animal services recommends they contact the proper authorities because pets can be protected by restraining orders just like people.

To learn more about resources and preventing animal cruelty visit texasspca.org. Anonymous reports can also be filed through crime stoppers by calling (877) 373-8477.