Multiple cases of animal cruelty reported in the Tampa area

Multiple reports of animal cruelty have been reported in the Tampa Bay area this week.

Law enforcement officials have held a strong stance on prosecuting suspects in animal cruelty cases to the fullest extent of the law.

The Hillsborough County Animal Services Director also emphasizes how seriously these crimes should be taken.

"That animal is just as helpless as that small child. It can’t get help," Hillsborough County Animal Control Division Director Roger Mills said.

From cases where animals were tied up, starved, and beaten, Mills says they’ve handled 1,300 cases of neglect this year.

"How could they do this stuff knowing that that animal is dependent upon you to survive," he said.

Earlier this week, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested and charged a woman with animal cruelty after releasing a graphic video that shows her hitting a dog with a rubber mallet. Investigators say the alleged abuse went on for months.

READ: Hillsborough woman captured on surveillance video attacking dog with rubber mallet, deputies say

In Citrus County this week, deputies say they found 42 dogs and cats living in inhumane conditions. Deputies say there were even some dead animals found on the property.

The conditions that some animals were living in

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office says a woman was charged with 39 counts of animal cruelty.

"I do see a correlation to the child abuse and animal abuse," Mills said. "I do see a correlation with it."

Mills says animal abuse and crimes against children are interconnected.

He says laws allow them to petition a court to file for enjoinment, to keep a person from owning or being around animals. He says they also often see repeat offenders caught committing some of the same abuse they were charged for previously.

MORE: Citrus County deputies: 42 animals rescued from woman's property; bodies of cats found in freezer

"Something with that severity, not only do they need to be forced to take some kind of counseling, but they need to serve some time," Mills said. "They need to serve some time.

Mills says suspects in these cases need to face harsh penalties and rehabilitation.

"We do not and will not ever tolerate something like that," he said. "No way. They’re going to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

This week, the State Attorney acknowledged the animal cruelty case out of Hillsborough County, pushing to keep animals out of the hands of people who are charged with these types of crimes.