SAN ANTONIO - A turtle crushed to death at a local park by a teenager has brought to light the increase amount of animal cruelty cases during the summer.
"Cruelty to animals is never just a prank or a mistake," said Lisa Norwood, spokesperson with the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services.
In the case of the turtle, a teenager went too far.
"Some teens were a local park and one of the teens had a turtle with her," she said. "We don't know whether it was her turtle or she found the turtle. We just know she was caring for this turtle. Another teen decided to take the turtle from her and crush it to death under a concrete paving stone. There were numerous witnesses to this and they came forward and we began to investigate."
Other recent cases under investigation have seen a startling and horrifying array of cruelty: a cat suffocated in a locked metal box, more than a dozen kittens found dumped on the roadside in a bag and five dogs left close to death from preventable conditions. ACS Cruelty investigators warn cases may be on the rise as the season sees school out, more outdoor activities and hotter temperatures which can cause anger to flare.
Punishment varies from case-to-case, but there is a possibility of being charged with a felony, especially when it involves a heinous act that could be considered torture.
The following are some potential signs of animal cruelty and how to report it:
• Pets without fresh water and species specific food. (While an empty bowl in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean an animal is being cruelly treated, failure to provide food and water to pets is against the law).
• Outdoor dogs without access to shade and proper shelter to get out of the elements. The law in San Antonio defines shelter as a structure with a roof, three sides, a fourth accessible side and a floor elevated to keep the structure dry.
• Chaining a dog directly by the neck or with heavy tow chains
• Pets who are being physically beaten or tortured
• Injured or sick animals who have received no veterinary care
• Keeping excessive numbers of pets to adequately provide humane housing and care
• Fighting or causing to fight dogs or roosters
• Sexual abuse of animals
Animal Cruelty can be reported by calling 3-1-1. While callers can remain anonymous if they choose, the successful prosecution of animal cruelty cases often depends on witness statements and information in order to hold an offender accountable. Callers should provide as much information as possible to assist investigators in the enquiry.