BCSO reestablishes Animal Cruelty Task Force

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BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. – “Shyne” is a recent survivor of animal cruelty in Bernalillo County, and the new face of the Bernalillo County Animal Cruelty Task Force.

“This is a perfect case. Shyne’s case is what we’re trying to prevent and the offenders we’re looking for need to be held accountable,” said Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen. 

Allen is making animal welfare a priority. He believes in the link between animal abuse and other violent crimes against humans.

“You see that animal cruelty and animal abuse is a root cause of what they continue to do, and it’s a huge red flag on what could happen later in the future in that person’s life,” said Allen. 

The county started the task force back in 2017, but Allen says it dissolved just a few years later. This time around, the plan is to strengthen efforts to investigate, prevent, and respond to animal abuse cases.

Allen is making sure other animal welfare partners like Angela Stell, the founder and director of NM Dog play a big role.

“You can’t just go in from one angle. You need to go in from all angles,” said Stell.

Stell’s hope is to see more collaboration and clear contact between agencies.

“It’s definitely better when we have this active working entity where we’re all working together on a regular basis and cross-reporting when something comes up in the field,” Stell said. “I think this is just more empowering for everybody involved and it’s gonna result in better outcomes for the criminal cases and for the animals and for our community.”

Both agree there’s room for education and making the community better pet owners overall.

“Everyone’s gonna talk about ‘Oh you care more about animals than human beings,’ but I think again education– if they saw the link to domestic violence and violent crime it would change their minds,” said Allen.

“We’re together. We’re united on this we’re all here for the same reasons, to make our community safer,” said Stell.

Allen says they’re still working out logistics for the task force, but does plan to include the public’s input about what you feel is most important to tackle first.