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D.A. stresses 'zero tolerance' policy on animal cruelty

Reported by: Denise Rosch
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Updated: 6/14/2013 10:23 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- District Attorney Steve Wolfson is getting active on the topic of animal cruelty.

The recent case of a tourist be-heading a bird at the flamingo hotel is part of a new campaign rolled out by the District Attorney.

News 3's Denise Rosch tells us where you'll see the message to protect your pets.

A recent cellphone video captures a crime in progress that went viral.

The video showed 24-year-old Justin Teixeria chasing down a helmeted guinea fowl named "Turk."

The bird belonged to the Flamingo Hotel and was eventually decapitated by Teixeria.

It was a crime which District Attorney Steve Wolfson's office vigorously prosecuted.

“I was mystified to say the least that tourists could come to town and think they could chase after one of our pets, one of our favorite tourist attractions,” Wolfson said.

While Teixeria has now pled guilty to a felony charge of killing another person's animal, the case shines a new light on animal abuse.

On Thursday Wolfson was joined with leaders from the Animal Foundation to announce a new education campaign aimed at pet owners.

The message is simple -- Never leave a pet in a hot, locked car or in a backyard with no shelter or adequate water.

“Once they're bodies can no longer compensate for the heat they go into heat stroke and their body temperatures can reach 106 to 109,” said veterinarian Jessica Graham.

While the DA promises a tough stance on animal abusers one local animal advocate hopes that's enough.

Two years ago, Gina Griesen helped pass Cooney's Law that makes first time animal cruelty in Nevada a felony.

“I think it's sort of tempered with how are we going to investigate these cases?” Griesen said. “We've requested a meeting with Sheriff Gillespie because unless it's properly investigated, it doesn't even get to the DA's office.”

Griesen says the more the public learns about animal cruelty, the more outraged they become.

Something we saw last year when two teenage boys were accused of drowning a pair of newborn kittens.

The cases get attention.

Now the DA.'s office is warning would-be abusers to think before acting. Your chances of being prosecuted here in Las Vegas just went up.

According to Las Vegas animal control, its office receives about 200 complaints a year of animals locked in hot cars.

If you see animal abuse, residents are urged to call 3-1-1.


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