391219 08: Bruno, a one and a half year old pit bull dog believed to have attacked 10 year-old Shawn Jones with two other dogs, is kept in a pen at the Pinole Animal Services Center June 26, 2001 in Martinez, CA. Jones remains hospitalized in critical condition after he was attacked by three pit bull dogs. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Carr, who is seeking re-election next week against her employee, prosecutor Jeff Rosen, announced a multi-agency effort to combat animal abuse at a news conference in San Jose Tuesday afternoon.
"As a dog-lover, this topic is near and dear to my heart," Carr said.
Animal cruelty is not limited to intentional physical abuse, Carr said. With the onset of summer and ensuing heat, she advised residents to not leave their pets in an unattended car, saying that doing so is not only potentially fatal to pets, but could lead to jail time, heavy fines and a criminal conviction.
Abuse also includes poisoning or neglecting animals and owning, possessing or training animals with the intention of using them to fight.
Bonnie Yoffe-Sharp, a representative from Palo Alto Animal Services, said violence toward animals can sometimes predict similar acts toward people.
"That doesn't mean every child that rips off the wings of a butterfly will become a serial killer, but there is an established link between animal abuse and interpersonal abuse," Yoffe-Sharp said.
Beth Ward, chief operations officer for Humane Society Silicon Valley, said oftentimes people who abuse animals do so to intimidate, terrorize, exert power or control, manipulate or get revenge on another person.
In domestic violence cases, one partner might abuse their pet to keep the other person from leaving the relationship, Yoffe-Sharp said.
Some of the warning signs of animal abuse are lack of knowledge or concern about previous pets, lack of concern about current pet's injuries and refusal to treat those injuries, and the owner of the animal misrepresents their pet's injury as accidental.
Julie St. Gregory, a marketing representative and volunteer coordinator for San Jose Animal Care and Services, held a black Labrador retriever named Annie in her arms that she said had been rescued and adopted recently by a resident who had found the dog stuffed in a duffel bag and abandoned.
St. Gregory said Annie had suffered a broken tibia and scratches on her forehead and had to undergo a leg amputation, but that it was a happy ending for her because she eventually found a loving home and is recovering.
Residents who see animals in situations similar to Annie's are advised to place the animal in a carrier or box that has plenty of air holes and transport them to a local hospital. They should not give the animal water or food, and if transportation is a safety issue, then residents should call an animal care center.
Residents who live in San Jose, Milpitas, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Saratoga can call San Jose Animal Care and Services at (408) 578-7297. To report animal abuse in unincorporated areas of the county, call the Santa Clara County Division of Animal Care and Control at (408) 465-2920.