BRADENTON (FOX 13) - People charged with animal abuse often get off with a small fine or a slap on the wrist. Now, the Bradenton Police Department intends to hold abusers accountable and they're teaming up with other agencies to make it happen.
Cruelty and abuse is a heartbreaking reality for thousands of animals, but Bradenton Police Chief Melanie Bevan says there is no room for it in her city.
"It is something we are putting our foot down, and we are going to stop," she said.
Bradenton police are cracking down on animal abusers, making four arrests in recent months. The first came in December when officers found a dog hanging from a fence by it's collar.
It led them to Rick Arenas-Arroyro and his father Pedro Arenas-Guadalupe, and three more dogs living in filth.
"It is unfortunate for the animal because they have no voice," said Chief Bevan.
In the past, Manatee County Animal Services officers conducted abuse investigations on their own, but they lacked the resources and power of enforcement police have.
Now, Animal Services, Bradenton police, the Humane Society of Manatee County, the state attorney's office and local veterinarians are teaming up.
"We are really excited to see animal cruelty not be tolerated in this county and to be taking a firm stance in working together to make sure we are getting the bad guys and all the evidence we need," said Manatee Co. Animal Service's Division Chief Sarah Brown.
Earlier this week, officers arrested Derris Sturdivant after nine dogs were found caged up without food or water.
Three weeks ago officers arrested Anthony Kidd for throwing a dog. Police were tipped off by a vet, who treated the dog for a bleeding eye, bloody nose and broken tooth.
Animal Services said its partners play an important role in ending the abuse.
"We try to bounce ideas off one another, try and figure out, is this going to work, is that going to work, oh maybe we should try this approach; sharing reports and information with one another," said Brown.
Chief Bevan added, anyone with animals who may not be able to continue caring for them should seek help before the situation gets out of control.
"Do what you can, and if you can't take care of them find another home for them and try to do that before we need to intervene," said Chief Bevan.