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County of Orange Health Care Agency Letter

County of Orange Health Care Agency

JULIETTE A. POULSON, RN, MN
DIRECTOR

MIKE SPURGEON
DEPUTY AGENCY DIRECTOR
REGULATORY HEALTH SERVICES

JULIE ANN RYAN JOHNSON, DVM
DIRECTOR
ANIMAL CARE SERVICES

MAILING ADDRESS:
561 THE CITY DRIVE SOUTH
ORANGE, CA 92868
TELEPHONE: (714) 935-6848
FAX: (714) 935-6373

COUNTY OF ORANGE
HEALTH CARE AGENCY

REGULATORY HEALTH SERVICES
ANIMAL CARE SERVICES

Orange County Animal Care Services (OCACS) handles a variety of animal and regulatory issues involving all types of domestic, exotic, and wild animals. One of the most challenging tasks for our department is the successful handling and prosecution of animal cruelty complaints. These calls pose a unique problem for our field staff since our officers do not have the powers of arrest and must rely on the local Police Agencies once a cruelty has been identified and then work in conjunction with the Deputy District Attorneys to obtain a successful prosecution and conviction of a Cruelty Suspect. However, we were experiencing difficulties with the continuity of the investigation that resulted in cases being dropped and mishandled through ignorance of the applicable laws.

OCACS found that some police officers did not take animal related cases seriously; often stating they had more serious crimes affecting the community they would rather handle. This created poor follow through with investigations that had been turned over to law enforcement resulting in charges being dropped at the District Attorney’s level and the animal being returned to the owner. It became apparent to all concerned that something needed to be done.

To solve this problem, OCACS designed a Microsoft Power Point presentation geared towards the Police Departments and Deputy District Attorneys which offered examples of past cruelty case investigations gone wrong, what needed to be done differently for successful prosecution, as well as educate our collaborating agencies on the laws governing those investigations. The presentation has been given to numerous police departments within our jurisdiction as well as numerous District Attorneys. The reaction to the presentation has been overwhelming. The various agencies have pledged their support in the handling of these sensitive cases and have given assurance that future cases will be handled appropriately. Due to the efforts of all involved, we feel there is a better working relationship between our Agencies that has resulted in a marked improvement in the outcome of animal cruelty investigations. One success story that we are very proud of is the story of “Daiquiri”. Daiquiri came to our shelter during the time that we were working towards strengthening our agency partnerships. While the investigation had a difficult beginning, with the cooperation and efforts of several different agencies, Daiquiri’s owner was prosecuted and found guilty of Cruelty to Animals. You will see the story of Daiquiri in the enclosed copy of our Power Point Presentation. I hope you’ll consider our hard efforts in protecting the animals in our County.

Sincerely
Julie Ann Ryan Johnson, DVM


Courtesy of

561 THE CITY DRIVE SOUTH
ORANGE, CA 92868
TELEPHONE: (714) 935-6848
FAX: (714) 935-6373

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