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Animal Law

Critics Call San Antonio’s Unusual Animal Court a Waste of Taxpayer Money

Posted Feb 22, 2012 8:31 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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City officials in San Antonio have created an animal court to crack down on pet owners accused of acting irresponsibly.

The court may be unique in the United States, the Wall Street Journal reports. The court hears cases that weren’t getting much attention in municipal courts, as prosecutors target pet owners over dog bites, stray animals and failure to register and vaccinate their furry friends.

But some critics say the city is wasting money prosecuting small offenses, the story says. In its first 10 months of existence, the court has collected more than $250,000 in fines.

According to Lisa Wayne, the president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, San Antonio would be better off "educating people about their animals rather than punishing them."

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