Officer Floyd "Buck" Hessler said reported cases of abuse seem to be on the rise.
But Hessler also said he's not sure if the problem has actually grown or if more people are now reporting abuses. "It's hard to say. It might be a combination of the two," he said.
Similarly, the United States has seen a noticeable increase in animal hoarding in recent years, and the exact reason is not known, according to Dr. Gary Patronek, founder of the Hoarding of Animals Research Consortium.
While he credits increased awareness, reporting and multiple television shows about the behavior, Patronek also believes there are also more people hoarding. There is not yet a centralized resource for collecting statistics, he said.
"There are now at least three television shows about this. Now people are becoming more aware that it's not so uncommon for people to live in conditions that are unfathomable to the average person," he said.
Hessler responded to 223 animal cruelty calls in 2010. This January he had 31 calls; there were 22 calls in February. So far, he's looking at an increase of about 10 percent over last year's volume..." More