SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The county Department of Animal Services is now offering rewards of up to $1,000 for people who report acts of animal cruelty in the San Diego area.

Officials with the government agency hope the monetary incentive program, operated in conjunction with San Diego County Crime Stoppers, will reveal animal-abuse cases that otherwise would have gone unreported and bring the perpetrators to justice, according to DAS Lt. Daniel DeSousa.

"We encourage everyone in our community to be our eyes and ears in the fight against animal cruelty," DeSousa said.

As with other types of unlawful acts, tipsters now may report felony animal abuse cases -- anonymously, if so desired -- to Crime Stoppers by telephone, at (888) 580-8477, or online at

If an arrest is made and a reward has been authorized, the good Samaritan will be given directions on how to collect his or her payout.

As part of the Crime Stoppers partnership, the county animal welfare agency will display decals on animal control vehicles to promote the program.

"Citizens will have the phone number readily available if they witness any acts of animal cruelty," DeSousa said. "It also puts offenders on notice that people are watching."

Currently, DAS spends hundreds of hours each month investigating animal cruelty and neglect cases in San Diego County, according to DeSousa.

"We hope that this unique partnership will help reduce animal cruelty cases in our county," he said.

Over the past 26 years, Crime Stoppers has paid out more than a half-million dollars to people whose tips closed in excess of 4,000 cases and led to the arrests of 2,800-plus suspects, according to the nonprofit community organization.