Three municipal court judges in Summit County are offering alternative sentences to some of those convicted of misdemeanor crimes against animals.

Akron Judge Katarina Cook, Barberton Judge Jill Flagg-Lanzinger and Stow Judge Lisa Coates are working with PAWSibilities Humane Society of Greater Akron to offer the court-ordered animal cruelty prevention class.

In recent years, the number of animal neglect and abuse cases has been on the rise. The judges say many who appear before them were taught to neglect or abuse pets. This class aims to break that cycle.

The two-part class covers state laws about animal cruelty and the responsibilities of owners toward their animals. It also covers basic pet care, how to make your home and yard safe for animals and disease prevention. Each part lasts about 90 minutes.

Defendants will have 60 days to complete the class which begin this month or they could face court-ordered sanctions.