SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County is going above and beyond to protect its animals. They have created a new position that is dedicated to keeping them safe.

The Animal Cruelty Investigator is a brand new position in the county. The goal is to have someone completely dedicated to any cases that may involve animal cruelty or abuse.

“Every animal deserves to be loved and cared for by those who have chosen to have them,” said Patti Landis.

Patti Landis has currently been working in the Animal Control Division for the county. With almost 24 years under her belt, she is ready to give more attention to cases involving any type of animal abuse.

“We do them on a daily basis, with complaints of either animal cruelty or neglect, improper tethering, improper shelter,” said Landis.

Typically, she said they deal with animals running loose, nuisance calls, and bite cases.

She said the county had 8,000 cases in total last year, and around 1,000 were in reference to abuse or neglect.

“You have to hold them accountable for it, whether it’s taking them to jail, or whether it’s issuing county citations and taking them into court,” she said.

Landis said it’s sad a position like this was needed, but animal abuse in the county is something that will never be accepted.

“The recent case of the individual who dumped the puppies in Pauline, that was a bad situation,” said Landis. “They found themselves overwhelmed, there are resources and help out there. That situation did not have to end the way that it did.”

Before she took on this role, she was already dealing with cases of abuse. Last June, a man was charged when more than 30 horses were seized from Woodruff. Landis said they were being visibly neglected.

“The horrible neglect,” she said. “Just seeing the lifelessness in their eyes, almost a hopelessness in their eyes.”

Through that investigation, Landis said they were able to get the horses into a safe environment.

“Those horses are so much better off where they are now,” said the investigator.

She said pet owners need to remember if they are overwhelmed, there are resources available. Another important note she said is for people to spay and neuter their pets to keep the population lower and create fewer unwanted litters.

Landis will be working with the County’s new Pet Resource Center once it is built and fully operational.