The Pre-adjudication Animal Welfare Court, referred to as P.A.W., was implemented in May of 2016. Eligibility for the Pre-Adjudication Animal Welfare program requires a qualifying charge, voluntary participation by the defendant, and a recommendation by the court. Additional requirements for suitability and eligibility are reviewed by the program probation officer. The factors include, but are not limited to, a thorough criminal history check, a defendants willingness to recognize and be accountable for their actions regarding the present violation, engage in counseling and complete counseling. Participants must agree to attend a specialized treatment known as Anicare, which is a sixteen week program. All P.A.W. participants are assessed for treatment for possible underlying issues such as mental health disorders or substance abuse. The programs duration is a minimum of sixteen weeks, and all participants are held accountable with supervision conditions.
The Honorable Rosemary Cosgrove-Aguilar presides over this innovative judicial approach to misdemeanor offenses involving the cruelty to or neglect of animals. Through early court intervention, education, supervision, and judicial oversight, P.A.W.’s goal of preventing and reducing incidents of animal abuse and neglect will be achieved. Upon successful completion of the P.A.W. program, the defendant’s case is dismissed by the program judge, as agreed upon.