Victor Reynolds
Victor Reynolds (John Disney/Staff)

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit organization of attorneys who focus on the enforcement of animal-protection laws, has named Cobb County District Attorney Vic Reynolds to its 2014 Top 10 Animal Defenders list. Others on the list include prosecutors, elected officials and a television news program host. The group is celebrating its annual National Justice for Animals Week through Feb. 22, aimed at raising awareness about animal abuse and urging law enforcement, prosecutors, and lawmakers to protect animals and communities from abusers.

The group has posted the top 10 names and brief explanations on its website. The list notes that Reynolds took office on Jan. 1, 2013, and soon created an Animal Abuse Unit in response to recent cases “to send a clear message that this behavior is not tolerated.” He also charged his prosecutors with using forfeiture statutes to make sure abused animals are permanently removed from the perpetrators and eventually made available for adoption, the top 10 list noted.

“I am very honored for this recognition, but the true credit belongs to the prosecutors and law enforcement on the front lines who work daily to make sure animals are not abused and that the perpetrators who commit such offenses are held accountable,” Reynolds said in a news release noting that he and his wife have two yellow Labrador retrievers, Cooper and TJ, a rescue dog.

Recently a defendant in Cobb was sentenced to three years in prison for injuring a Yorkshire terrier, who has since recovered and moved to Florida with an adopted family after the DA’s office succeeded in preventing the owner from reclaiming him. The defense attorney complained that the sentence was tougher than his clients usually face for burglary or drug dealing.

The organization’s list is here.