Largo, Fla. – In recognition of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Pinellas County Domestic Violence Task Force and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Tampa Bay will host a workshop on the human factors in animal abuse.
Scheduled for Thursday, October 24th, from 6pm to 9pm, the workshop is open to the public and offers continuing education credits to law enforcement, guidance counselors and social workers. Register: www.SPCATampaBay.org
Animal cruelty is an indicator crime that points to a pattern of escalating violence aimed at family members who are less able to defend themselves: children, the elderly and others. Studies have repeatedly proven this link between cruel acts toward animals and human violence.
Workshop speakers include: Sgt. Laura Spelman, Clearwater police department; Joan Rueben and Denise Thornton, Pinellas County School Board; Suzanne Horn, CASA; Denise Hughes-Conlon, Pinellas County Domestic Violence Task Force/PERC; Martha Boden, SPCA Tampa Bay; Doug Brightwell, Pinellas County Animal Services; William H. Burgess III, Circuit Judge 6th Judicial Court; and, Jim Helinger, Esquire.
Topics covered include: patterns of abuse in animal cruelty and human violence; how to be a better bystander for animals and people; SPCA Tampa Bay and Pinellas County Animal Services’ roles in investigation and the judicial process.
Several notable animal cruelty cases in Pinellas’ history will be presented, including Eldred/Pettyjohn. This case broke in October 2001 and is best known in Pinellas County as ‘the llama case.’ It is considered the most horrendous animal cruelty case in recent history.
“How we treat animals is a measure of our civility. The barbarism exhibited in the Eldred/Pettyjohn
case is completely unacceptable in a civilized society. The level of cruelty was morally reprehensible. Because of this we devoted a significant amount of resources to the investigation. The crime was monstrous in itself but also in where it was headed. The pattern of cruelty that the case revealed pointed to future acts of violence against people. There is a correlation.”
– William H. Burgess III, Circuit Judge 6th Judicial Court and former assistant state attorney and prosecutor for the Eldred/Pettyjohn case
SPCA Tampa Bay was founded as a non-profit organization in 1940. Services for the community include animal cruelty investigation, lost/found pet assistance, animal admission and pet cremation assistance, pet adoption, ambulance transport for sick/injured strays and estate planning with pets in mind. Located on ten acres in Largo, FL, SPCA programs include free pet behavior help and low cost training classes, children’s summer camps and birthday parties.
SPCA Tampa Bay is funded almost entirely through individual contributions and bequests. The organization does not receive any County, State or Federal tax dollars. Visit www.SPCATampaBay.org for more information.
Pinellas County Domestic Violence Task Force members include law enforcement, social service and animal service agencies working together to facilitate a coordinated community response to domestic violence issues.