- Posted January 9, 2014 by
Smithtown, New York
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Animal Rescue Group Turns to Private Investigators to Address Abuse
“It’s very difficult to prove animal abuse, even for things such as dog fighting,” explains Robert Misseri, president of Guardians of Rescue. “We will get reports of suspected abuse, we go in and check it out, but even when it’s obvious that animal cruelty is taking place by ample evidence the person is often still within the law because they are meeting the basic needs of the pet, including shelter, food and water.”
He further explains that the laws are too weak and when there is resistance from the pet owner it raises a red flag that there may be some kind of animal abuse going on, or other illegal activity.
Misseri explains that usually the dogs are taken elsewhere to fight. Often times, they also find that if they are into dog fighting they are also into other illegal activities. That’s where having a team of private investigators will be helpful. The private investigator will be used to find other charges that can be used against the animal abuser, such as drug dealing, disabilities fraud, etc. They can help secure the photos and videos that can assist in getting charges pressed against the abusers. People who are into other illegal activities often keep the dogs around the home for protection.
Case in point: Recently they found a man who was breeding dogs in his backyard and supplying them to known dog fighters. The man had been on disability for three years, yet the private investigator had video of him lifting the dogs in huge crates. The authorities were alerted.
“When we see a hot house with multiple dogs on real short chains and tiny dog houses we know they spend most of their time out if it,” adds Misseri. “They are just there to protect the property. We know these are usually drug houses. It’s frustrating as we don’t want to break any laws, but we have a legal obligation to report people for the sake of animal welfare along with any illegal activity we observe.”
He explains that the dogs usually suffer through the cold, the heat, sickness, and limited access to water and food. Yet the law still favors those that do this to them, and not much is done to help the animals. The first goal of Guardians of Rescue is to offer the people the opportunity to surrender the dogs to us. The second option is giving them a proper dog house, a fenced pen, and free vet services. Many people will work with the rescue organization. When they won’t, it raises a red flag and that’s when the organization will be working with private investigators to dig deeper into what is going on in the lives of those with the animals.
“If they are committing a crime I will find them and turn them over to law enforcement,” adds Joseph LaBella, a former NYPD/DEA Taskforce undercover detective who is working with the animal rescue organization.
Guardians of Rescue provides assistance to animals out on the streets, helping to rescue them, provide medical care, food and shelter, and find foster home placement. Many families are still struggling to recover from the storm, making it difficult to care for their pet, either financially or while living in temporary housing. To learn more, or to make a donation to support the Guardians of Rescue, log onto www.guardiansofrescue.org.