I have been shocked by the local incidences of cruelty to animals I have heard about, or printed stories about, in the short time I have been at the North Island Gazette.
Puppies tossed into a Port-A-Potty and left to die, a rescued puppy with a broken leg left to heal incorrectly and half its ear cut off, and most recently a cat being put in a bag and reportedly smashed against a wall.
I don’t understand.
As a person who used to bring home stray kittens when I was a little girl, and has had at least two pets continuously throughout my adult life, I can’t fathom hurting another living creature for kicks.
I can’t imagine what these animals, naturally trusting of people, were feeling as their lives were extinguished in such horrible, cruel ways.
The scariest part about these heinous acts is what they say about the people that committed them.
In the mid 1980s, the FBI began noticing and paying attention to the fact that serial killers often have histories of abusing animals in early childhood.
Since then more and more research has been conducted in both the United States and Canada about the link between human and animal violence.
The studies show there is an indisputable tie between animal abuse and violence towards people, particularly within the family.
Threats of violence against a family pet are often used as a means of control by an abusive partner. Studies also consistently show that women delay leaving abusive situations because of fears for their pet’s safety.
As a result of these studies, more and more states now have felony level animal cruelty statutes to acknowledge the true danger often associated with this form of violence.
Many states are also adopting cross-reporting laws where human and animal welfare professionals must report suspected violence across species.
In April of 2008, Parliament passed Bill S-203 which increased jail time and other penalties for animal abuse.
However, recent headlines show that little has changed.
Offenders and their lawyers continue to exploit flaws and loopholes to get off with a slap on the wrist or no penalty at all.
The lenient punishments that are being handed out by our Canadian legal system are just not acceptable.
Not only should they do significant jail time, these people should also be required to undergo mandatory psychological treatment.
By taking these steps we may, in fact, prevent ongoing and future crimes against other human beings.
“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” — Mahatma Gandhi