The Humane Society of the United States
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Animal Cruelty Prosecutor and Judicial Training

For prosecuting attorneys, judges and law enforcement

  • Brandy was rescued from a successful puppy mill bust. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

Prosecuting or adjudicating animal cruelty cases can present unique challenges and implications.

For example, understanding how animal cruelty can relate to other issues like domestic violence or juvenile crime may help protect human as well as animal victims.

A former prosecutor in the Monmouth County, New Jersey, District Attorney's office, Sherry Ramsey, Esq., has successfully prosecuted and advised hundreds of animal cruelty and neglect cases involving pets, wildlife and farm animals.

As director of animal cruelty prosecutions for The HSUS, Sherry conducts training seminars on prosecuting and adjudicating animal cruelty cases. Geared toward law enforcement personnel, prosecuting attorneys and judges, the presentations draw from Sherry's experience to help participants learn the skills essential to prosecuting and adjudicating animal abuse cases.

Law enforcement, prosecutors and judges (and others as indicated below) are invited to join Sherry at these upcoming conferences. Email Sherry for more information.

Upcoming Animal Cruelty Prosecution Seminars

September 14-16, 2016: Austin, Texas The Association of Prosecuting Attorney's National Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference Details at »

September 26th, Las Vegas, NV National District Attorney's Association: Prosecution of Illegal Gaming The Sands Expo and Convention CenterRegistration »

Thursday, November 10th, Concord, NH Prosecutor Training - 9am-4pm Department of Environmental Services, 29 Hazen Drive, Concord, NHRegistration »

Past Animal Cruelty Prosecution Seminars

May 19, 2016: Atlantic City, New Jersey – NJSBA Annual Meeting and Convention – Domestic Violence: Protecting Victims by Protecting Their Pets

June 2, 2016: Jay Peak, Vermont – Vermont State's Attorney Conference: Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases, not open to the public

February 23, 2016: Camden: New Jersey – Seminar and panel on the link between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty, hosted by Rutgers Student Animal Legal Defense Fund and WLC.

Sept. 26, 2015: Los Angeles, California – Collaboration in Animal Law: Combating Criminal Animal Cruelty and Puppy Mills. Presented at the Animal Law Guild 2015 conference.

Oct. 22, 2015: Chattanooga, Tennessee – Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases. Presented at the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.

Nov. 4-6, 2015: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Animal Cruelty Conference

March 19, 2015: Hartford, Connecticut – How to Investigate and Prosecute Animal Cruelty Cases, training for prosecutors and law enforcement officers only

March 17, 2015: New York City – The Intersection Between Anti-Gay Bullying, Domestic Violence, and Animal Rights, hosted by the Student Animal Legal Defense Fund at the Cardozo Law School

Jan. 30, 2015: Charlottesville, Virginia – Training for JAG officers on the proposed provision for animal cruelty in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and how to charge animal cruelty crimes under the code

Nov. 5, 2014: Recorded Webinar – First Strike for Prosecutors: Effective Prosecution of Animal Cruelty Crimes; view for free here.

Oct. 10, 2014: Bay City, Michigan – Making the Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty, with the Bay County Domestic Violence Community Response Team

Oct. 9, 2014: Lansing, Michigan – Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases, presented at the Michigan State Bar, Animal Law Section

Sept. 26, 2014: Staunton, Virginia – Investigation and Prosecution of Animal Cruelty Crimes, The Staunton Police Department & The HSUS, presented at the Central Shenandoah Criminal Justice Training Academy

Aug. 7, 2014: Totowa, New Jersey - Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases, presented by Passaic County Prosecutor's Office 

July 16, 2014: Norman, Oklahoma – Juveniles and Crimes of Animal Cruelty, Oklahoma District Attorney's Council, presented at 2014 DAC/ODAA Conference

June 25, 2014: Marlboro, New Jersey – Enforcing the Animal Cruelty Laws, presented by the Certified Animal Control Officers Association (Central Region NJ)

June 6, 2014: Jay, Vermont – Vermont State's Attorney's Annual C.L.E. Conference

June 5, 2014: South Royalton, Vermont – Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases with a Focus on High Volume Cases, presented by the Vermont Bar Association

May 5-7, 2014: Atlanta, Georgia – Animal Cruelty Prosecution Conference: Prosecuting Animal Cruelty, presented by the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys

April 9, 2014: New York, New York – The Dangers of Dangerous Dog Laws, presented at New York Law School

March 27, 2014: Hudson County, New Jersey – Prosecuting Animal Cruelty (open to prosecutors only), presented by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office

Sept. 12, 2013: Phoenix, Arizona – Effective Enforcement and Prosecution of Animal Cruelty [PDF]*

Sept. 13, 2013: Scottsdale, Arizona – Effective Enforcement and Prosecution of Animal Cruelty [PDF]*

April 30, 2013: Washington, D.C. – U.S. Department of Justice panel on animal cruelty

April 13, 2013: Daleville, Virginia – A Guide to Virginia's Animal Welfare Laws

March 5 & 6, 2013: Tallahassee , Florida – Third Annual Animal Investigation & Prosecution Seminar Series [PDF]

October 2012: Los Angeles, California – Association of Prosecuting Attorneys' Third National Animal Prosecution Conference: Prosecuting Animal Cruelty and Preserving Community Safety

September 2012: Baltimore, Maryland – Animal cruelty prosecution training for law enforcement and prosecutors, sponsored by the Baltimore County State's Attorney's Office

June 2012: Newark, New Jersey – Animal cruelty and animal-fighting seminar presented (alongside forensic veterinarian Dr. Dana Miller and USDA-OIG-Investigations Special Agent in Charge Beth Dinkins) to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Newark division

May 2012: New York City – Animal Cruelty and the Use of Veterinary Forensics presented by the New York City Bar Association

April 2012: Indianapolis, Indiana – Continuing Legal Education on Animal law presented by the Indiana State Bar Association and The Animal Law Society

February 2012: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – Continuing Legal Education course for prosecutors regarding animal-cruelty case prosecutions, offered by the Philadelphia District Attorney's office

October 2011: Virginia Beach, Virginia – Training for animal control officers on investigating animal cruelty cases, sponsored by the Virginia Animal Control Association

September 2011: Louisville, Kentucky – Training for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors on investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty cases in Kentucky, sponsored by The HSUS

August 2011: Saint Paul, Minnesota – 2011 Criminal Justice Institute, sponsored by Minnesota Continuing Legal Education

July 2011: New York City – National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, 74th Annual Conference

May 2011: Atlantic City, New Jersey – Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty: Important Considerations, part of the New Jersey State Bar Association Annual Meeting

April 2011: Baltimore, Maryland – Conversations for Change: Improving Civic Society for Animals, sponsored by the Maryland Bar Association

February 2011: Florida – Investigating and Prosecuting Animal Cruelty Cases, attended by over 120 prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and animal control officers and organized by Asst. State Attorney Adrienne Emerson and Alaqua Animal Refuge founder Laurie Hood.  

October 2010: Colorado – Three-day prosecutor training seminar sponsored by, and in cooperation with, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA)

July 2010: Salem, Oregon – Prosecutor training sponsored by the Oregon Department of Justice on the Connections and Concerns With Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty

May 2010: New Jersey – Prosecutor training at the New Jersey State Bar Association's Annual Meeting

April 2010: Rockland County, New York – Prosecutor training at the Rockland County, NY District Attorney's Office

March 2010: Las Vegas, Nevada – National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Annual Meeting: A seminar on the Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty and a seminar on the Important Considerations on Juvenile Crime and Animal Cruelty  

February & September 2010: Charlottesville, Virginia– JAG attorney training for the Army JAG School: an explanation of the new proposed provision for animal cruelty in the Uniform Code of Military Justice and ways to charge animal cruelty crimes under the Code 

September 2009: Washington, D.C. – The Association of Prosecuting Attorneys' first-ever conference on Prosecuting Animal Cruelty and Fighting Cases, held at George Washington University Law School and sponsored by the Animal Welfare Institute