GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Garland is tackling a spike in animal abuse cases be creating an animal cruelty division within the animal services department.

Art Munoz, director of animals services, said, “What we want to do is make sure that we are handling these cases right away, and making sure we are getting animals out of situations in a timely manner.”

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Garland officials say they have seen more than a dozen cases of animal cruelty since earlier this year and throughout the pandemic.

Garland police investigators say there has been an increase in all kind of domestic abuse cases, and they’re looking into how much the stresses of the pandemic may be contributing to the recent spike in animal abuse cases.

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Police spokesperson Felicia Jones said, “It could be stress related, finances, just the current situation so we consider a number of factors.”

The four-person team includes members from the animal services department, police department and Dallas County District Attorney’s Office and would be rolled out in November.

They will be aggressively enforcing animal cruelty laws and charging offenders accordingly.

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Munoz said their message is clear: “If you abuse an animal in the city of Garland you will be held accountable.”