At Stevenson University, in the school's mock courtroom, very real lawyers and cops were talking about a very real problem.
Law enforcement, animal control and attorneys from Frederick County to Baltimore city filled the room to capacity to take part in a first ever animal abuse leadership summit.
The goal for all jurisdictions is to better understand animal cruelty laws, how to better prosecute them and build a better and more convincing case against the defendants.
"We think this is a very important area of the law to make sure that everybody is kind of on the same page and using some of the best practices all over the state."
Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger's office organized this summit; an effort to standardize better investigations and prosecutions after his office saw a jump in animal abuse cases.
Assistant State's Attorney Adam Lippe saw many of those cases first hand and this day-long meeting was, in part, his idea.
"It should never be a situation that someone doesn't know where to turn to either as a member of the community, an investigator, an animal control member, a prosecutor in a different county. There are people you can talk to, people you can learn from and we can actually make a difference," said Lippe.
And most of the people were in the room trying to form a common understanding of animal cruelty and justice.
Not just for the animal, but as many studies show, suspects who abuse animals are far more likely to commit domestic violence, a finding making the summit all the more important as these men and women learn to be a better voice for the victims that don't.
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