Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Abused animals have a cop who finds the time to care

Theft detective keeps cases in the spotlight

By DEBRA McKINNEY, Anchorage Daily News

It's not like Jackie Conn needed more to do. As a detective with the Anchorage Police Department -- Detective of the Year in 2008, in fact -- she's in the theft unit, and there's no shortage of sticky fingers in this town....

So no, she didn't heap animal cruelty cases on top of her workload because she had time on her hands. She started squeezing them in around the edges because she loves animals and wants people who abuse them held accountable.

A big part of Conn's new role is increasing awareness of how animal cruelty in a home may be a symptom of other kinds of crimes -- domestic violence and child abuse in particular...

...(she) had a case a few years back that really got to her, that sent her down this path.

She was on day-shift patrol in the fall of 2004 when a call came in about a horrific smell wafting from a house in South Anchorage.

"Nobody answered the door," she said. "So I went out and poked around the outside of the house. Eventually we ended up going in."

What she saw when she opened the door has stayed with her all these years.

"We're standing at the door, and it's like all you see are these little eyes staring at you."

Cats. Everywhere, cats.

"I was like, no way."

The official count was 165, some sickly, some not, all living in unbelievable filth. Plus at least a dozen exotic birds in cages, a couple of dogs and chickens out in the yard.

This was the notorious Krystal Allen animal hoarding case...  More

Photo courtesy of Anchorage Police Dept.