CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) -- The Humane Society on Tuesday awarded a Cedar Rapids police officer with the 2021 Humane Law Enforcement Award.
Officer Christopher Collins investigated a case of a German Shepherd named Luna, who had been deprived of food and water.
But Collins has been working for several years to bring justice for abused and neglected animals, like Luna.
"Two years ago, I took a class in investigating animal abuse, " Collins said.
He has also been advocating to strengthen Iowa's animal welfare laws, which he says, were lacking.
Collins met Luna in July of 2020 after she was brought to the Wildthunder Wildlife & Animal Rehabilitation & Sanctuary in Independence, Iowa. Its director immediately began documenting Luna’s condition and worked with several veterinarians to improve Luna’s health. The rescue organization posted photographs on social media that demonstrated Luna had been deprived of food and was suffering from long-term neglect.
Collins' investigative work led to the arrest of a suspect, who was then charged with animal neglect and later plead guilty to a simple misdemeanor.
"I think I wanted justice to be served." Collins said. "I think it's easier with dogs to want that more because they don't really have a voice to tell you what happens, and not only that, they can endure a lot of pain and suffering. That's what those photos looked like to me, is that dog had been suffering for quite a while."
The Humane Society of the United States presents its Humane Law Enforcement Award annually to officers who have taken an exemplary stand against animal cruelty.
Preston Moore is the Iowa state director for the Humane Society of the United States.
“We are proud to present a 2021 Humane Law Enforcement Award to Officer Collins,” Moore said. “We are grateful to Cedar Rapids Police Department for their leadership in combatting animal cruelty.”
Collins says he hopes he never has to handle another case of animal neglect, due to a lack of cases, but if there is, he says he'd like to be the one who investigates it.