The Sacramento County District Attorney, Anne Marie Schubert, announced Friday a new Animal Cruelty Prosecution Unit.

The District Attorney's Office and a regional Sacramento Animal Cruelty Task Force will address animal abuse across the county, according to the DA's Office press statement.

The office is acknowledging the link between animal abuse and violent crimes against people, particularly children and domestic violence, and believes a specialized unit will result in the consistent prosecution of these offenders. According to the Humane Society of the United States, a study of families under investigation for suspected child abuse found pet abuse had occurred in 88 percent of the families under supervision. The organization also states, a survey found 71 percent of domestic violence victims reported their abuser also targeted pets.

The DA's office is planning on training local law enforcement and community organizations to improve awareness and communication on animal cruelty.

The new prosecution unit will launch in January 2018 and will be headed by veteran prosecutor Hilary Bagley-Franzoia, who is known for her commitment to animal abuse cases. Bagley-Franzoia will also chair the Sacramento Animal Cruelty Task Force, which will hold its first monthly meeting on November 8th.