Nearly 70% of households in Maricopa County have pets and Maricopa County Animal Care and Control licenses nearly 400,000 dogs annually. Sadly, not all of these pets end up in loving homes and some are abused and mistreated. When that treatment rises to criminal conduct, that’s when MCAO prosecutor and animal crimefighter Casey Mundell steps in.
Casey is currently assigned to the Special Crimes Bureau in the Organized Crime Division and a large part of his caseload involves animal cruelty cases. Casey’s position is one of the most thankless in the office; requiring strength and confidence to navigate these often-complicated cases involving defenseless animals. These vulnerable victims are often abused by people they trust and they can’t complain or talk about what is happening.
“Animal cruelty cases can be horrific – but prosecuting these cases is also extremely rewarding,” says Casey. “When animals in a home are being abused or neglected, it is sometimes a warning sign that others in the household may be in danger. I want to remove that danger and help not only to protect my community, but educate them on how we can do better.”
Casey’s commitment to seeking justice in these cases has not gone unnoticed. His passion for animals was recently acknowledged by the Animal Legal Defense Fund when they named him a Top Ten Animal Defender in the country among a list of top prosecutors, law enforcement officials, lawmakers and others who champion the cause of animal crime victims.
When he isn’t securing justice for those who do not speak, he is the chair of the Animal Law Section, and on the faculty of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys Animal Cruelty Board in partnership with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. These partnerships have allowed Casey to be intimately involved in educating and advocating for animal rights in Arizona and across the country. Casey’s passion for animals has also helped start the Law Enforcement Animal Cruelty Task Force here in Maricopa County, bringing everyone involved with animal cruelty together to better prevent, investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases; he has also been integral in creating MCAO’s new Animal Cruelty Diversion Program.
Casey applies advice he received from his parents to his prosecution work on behalf of animals, “be a good person in everything you do and be relentless in fighting for what is important.” Casey has indeed taken that to heart and is proud to be able to continue representing the MCAO in his work with animals. And his ties to our four-legged friends continues when he leaves work at the end of the day too.
When he’s not at work, it isn’t likely that you will see him leaping buildings in a single bound, but you will find him spending his free time with his girlfriend and their four lovable dogs: Isen, a sweet blue-nosed pit bull; Bear, a funny Chihuahua/Terrier mix; Justice, a goofy, energetic yellow lab and Max, their brilliant yet sophisticated Jack Russell Terrier. Please join MCAO in celebrating one of our unsung animal heroes during April, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.