TRI-CITIES: Only 6% of animal abuse cases go to trial

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR learned many animal abuse cases will never lead to a jail cell.

Broken limbs, smashed paws, and plenty of puppy dog eyes.

Each month, dozens of animals find themselves abused and hurt.

Randy Jackson knows how inhumane society can be. Three years ago, the Kennewick landlord was shocked to find 14 abandoned animals at one his properties. The pet's owners simply left them and bolted from town. They had little food and water for days.

"It was heartbreaking," Jackson says. "They're barking. They're hungry. They have sad looks on their faces."

Jackson's story is all the more outrageous when you consider that no charges were ever been filed against the pet's owners. Unfortunately it's the rule rather than the exception. In fact, out of more than 100 animal abuse calls in the Tri-Cities last year, only six cases actually went to trial.

Most cases of animal abuse aren't clear cut. Many are similar to Jackson's situation and involve neglect. It then becomes the court's responsibility to prove that an owner deliberately harmed their pet; something that's a tall order when your main victim can't speak.

Prosecutors say it also comes down to priority. As awful as animal abuse can be, it's still no match for cases involving murderers and child molesters. .

We're told charges for animal abuse range from community service to jail time. However, any charges are often rare.

In the end, it's just how the system works...even if it does involve the powerless.