As I was writing, a thought occurred around all of our social media posts and shares of outrage when we see animal cruelty or neglect. We must appreciate a simple truism:
The easiest thing to do is to “Get on the Bandwagon.” If we want to bring about change we must be a part of the team that will pull that wagon.
Sometimes the pulling is easier than other times. Often times those who do the pulling are ridiculed for “not pulling correctly,” but at least they are pulling! Sometimes the team disagrees but the leaders are able to keep everyone out of the ditch. As long as the team stays focused on the goal, the wagon will get there even through innumerable roadblocks or team conflict.
One team individuals/organizations came together nearly a year ago and began the work to bring other groups to join them to positively impact and change the issue of animal cruelty and neglect. Yesterday those efforts were brought to fruition at the offices of Crime Stoppers of Houston. There was a press conference to announce the Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force – www.927PAWS.org or 832.927.7297 (PAWS) was officially launched.
Pulling this wagon wasn’t always easy, but it was humbling to be a part of it and to watch so many people who care about the welfare of animals and who daily provide a voice for them. Beyond the rescues and groups like Crime Stoppers of Houston who advocate for the animals, I saw how committed many in law enforcement are. From the Precinct 5 Constable’s office to Harris County Sheriff’s office to the Houston Police Department to the District Attorney’s office there is leadership that cares and frontline officers, deputies, and attorneys who work daily to save animals and prosecute those who harm them. Because they wanted the Task Force to succeed each of the law enforcement entities added people in animal cruelty roles and is providing them resources for action. (Some already had officers in these roles and added more.)
Both Harris County Animal Shelter and BARC are providing resources. Please note these two entities are often maligned and, if you have not walked in their shoes, I suggest you try it for a day or two. They do care about the animals and they have a thankless and extremely difficult job.
Houston PetSet, Houston Humane Society, Houston K911Rescue and others provided guidance from a rescue perspective. Crime Stoppers of Houston served as the hub of the wheel so that all came together in a single shared forum. This helped make the collaboration so much easier.
Because of the Harris County Animal Cruelty Task Force, animal cruelty can now be reported quickly online or via telephone. Please note that the quickest way to put the report in the hands of a law enforcement officer/agent is to use the online form on the first page of the website: www.927PAWS.org. If you have no Internet you can call 832.927.7297 (PAWS).
No longer does a concerned citizen have to try and choose from 50 agencies to report to. Every Report Goes Directly to Law Enforcement!
We know it will be effective because over the last month while the site has been in Beta mode and few knew of it, over 50 reports came into the site! Animals have already been helped!
Over the coming days, I will post more about the effort, how it will benefit the animals and the people of Harris County and Houston proper, and, hopefully, dispel a few myths about who does or does not care and why sometimes it seems that way. Also, our plan is to learn each day and create a system that can be used in any city or metropolitan area to help them make it easier to save the animals in need, prosecute the offenders, change laws and make their citizens aware of what the problem is.
Please share this with each of your friends. Message them so that the word gets out that there is an easy way to report an animal in need. With your help, we are all working to pull the wagon.
As always, #ForTheAnimals.