Ingham County Assistant Prosecutor Jeff Cruz was named one of America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders by the Animal Legal Defense Fund during National Justice for Animals Week 2012, which was Feb.19-25.

The week is an annual event dedicated to raising awareness nationwide about how citizens can work within their communities to achieve real justice for animal victims —and to honor law enforcement, prosecutors and legislators who give real teeth to laws protecting animals.

As a prosecutor for the past 11 years, Cruz has handled thousands of criminal files and tried a variety of cases, including dogfighting and animal cruelty. He has successfully prosecuted dogfighters who received felony convictions and jail time, up to and including prison. His experience extends from misdemeanor animal abuse and large-scale hoarding cases to professional dogfighting rings, which are felonies. For the past three years, most crimes in Ingham County involving dogfighting, animal neglect and cruelty are screened and reviewed by Cruz.

“Animal victims of abuse cannot speak for themselves — so concerned citizens and our legal system must speak up for them,” says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Jeff Cruz has gone above and beyond in earning a place among America’s Top Ten Animal Defenders during National Justice for Animals Week 2012.”

via Dozier: People News | Lansing State Journal |