New Crime Tips app can help stop abuse

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A friend of mine works as a delivery person and keeps an eye out for companion and barnyard animals on her route that are being abused. She sometimes sees pets who are chained in yards with no water or shelter, and she intervenes or reports the neglect.

Belle, a Pit Bull Terrier

Once neglected, Belle is waiting to be adopted at Paws in the City in Dallas.

Now, thanks to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), she and people like you and I can use our mobile phones to report any animal neglect or abuse that we see when we’re out and about.

On Feb. 20, the ALDF unveiled a Crime Tips app to report animal cruelty crimes. The app is the first of its kind, according to ALDF. It can submit GPS embedded crime tips with text, photos, video or audio to local authorities.

In an ALDF press release, Executive Director Stephen Wells, says, “This discreet, effective way to help animals lets concerned citizens take action on the spot, with the confidence that their tips will get to authorities who can help animals and put abusers behind bars.”

An article in raises a concern that the app could have drawbacks if a person mistakenly thinks an animal is being neglected when, in fact, it is not and that it might be better to report suspected neglect to a rescue group.

Well, sure. We might misread a sign (a horse that looks dead but is only sleeping), but it’s not too likely, and to save one animal from an abusive situation is probably worth that chance. And because we humans often get distracted, meaning we might forget to make a phone call by the time we reach home or work or wherever we’re headed, the immediacy and convenience of the app is its strong point. It can make a difference.

You can download the ALDF Crime Tips App by scanning the QR code on the ALDF’s page or downloading the link on your phone. The app can also be downloaded for free from the iTunes App and Google Play stores.