Netherlands Create Animal Police Officers to Act Against Animal Cruelty
In 2011, the first animal police service, (animal cops) started work to tackle cruelty to animals and animal neglect more effectively. There is also a special alarm number 144, for reporting animals in distress.
The Dutch government says the country’s first animal police officers are training to enforce laws protecting pets, livestock and wildlife against abuse. The officers are drawn from the regular police force, and 125 of them will receive several months of training on animal welfare legislation and how to enforce it.
The Netherlands is the first country to have an animal rights party in parliament.
Dutch police to act against animal cruelty
The animal cops take action against:
• animal cruelty and the killing of animals;
• animal neglect;
• sex with animals;
• animal pornography;
• Animal baiting.
500 animal police officers by 2015
By 2015, the Dutch police will have 500 specialist animal police officers. These officers also carry out other police tasks, but receive specialist training at the Police College.
Training for animal police officers
The animal police officers training course covers:
• legislation on animal cruelty;
• recognizing suffering in animals;
• the powers of animal police officers;
• confiscation of animals;
• Procedures for reporting animal cruelty (such as drawing up an official report).
The training course combines theory and practice. It takes a total of 12 days, spread over three to four months. Six of those days are devoted to theory, and the other six to practical training. Trainees may for instance visit scenes where animal cruelty has been reported. At the end of the training course, the officers sit an examination, and if successful, they can start work as animal police officers.
Phone 144 to report animals in distress
An emergency number, 144, has been launched for reporting animals in distress. Calls to 144 (‘Save an Animal’) are answered by staff of the Dutch Police Services Agency’s emergency control centre.
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