Breeding Responsible Pet Ownership: Making Jail Time Mandatory for Animal Abuse, Cruelty and Neglect

11 10 2010

In 2001, Dusty was chained to a pole and systematically beaten to death by Michael Welch with a sledge hammer and a baseball bat over a period of two hours. Welch stopped long enough to consume more alcohol and then continued his vicious attack on Dusty until neighbors heard Dusty’s cries and called the police. Dusty died, Welch was tried and convicted and received three years probation. Why? Because Dusty was a dalmation.

Susie, a pit bull/shepherd mix, was set on fire and left to die. Susie lost her ears and still has scars, but she survived and has been adopted. LaShawn Whitehead was convicted of felony cruelty to animals, but was only sentenced to probation.

In both cases, once the sentence of probation has been served, their records will be wiped clean and these two men will be permitted to own animals again.

Animal abuse is a deep, psychological problem and statistics show that animal abusers don’t stop with animals but eventually move on to become pedophiles, commit child abuse, domestic violence and even murder. One of the most familiar of serial killers, Jeffery Dahmer, impaled animals on stakes as a child and we all know what he became as an adult.

As a nation, we are killing ourselves with kindness. The acts of animal cruelty outlined above and thousands of similar cases are either being dismissed before they ever see the inside of a courtroom, or the accused are given a slap on the wrist and sent on their way. Why? Are we that desensitized to these torturous, heinous acts? Does our society as a whole really believe that animals are disposable and therefore really don’t matter? It would appear so.

By allowing these acts to go primarily unpunished, we are conveying a message that abusing animals is acceptable. It’s time to speak up and make our voices heard. It’s time to change the message being conveyed to instead say that animal abuse, cruelty and neglect is reprehensible and should carry stricter sentences.

While most states, 45 to be exact, hold animal cruelty, abuse or neglect as a felony with MAXIMUM sentences, there appear to be no minimum sentences for these crimes. Five states only treat the crime as a misdemeanor. Because of this, lawmakers are able to slap offenders on the wrist. Minimum sentencing practices reflect the seriousness of the crime committed, remove the abuser from society which lessens the opportunity for repeat offenses and put forth the message that these types of crimes will not be tolerated anymore than crimes against humans. Plus, on a positive note, mandatory minimum sentences can allow for the convicted to benefit from a rehabilitation period, thus, preventing future similar crimes.

Animal abuse, cruelty and neglect are serious crimes and should be treated as such and punished accordingly. Failing to do so will only lead to the further demise of society. As the great Ghandi stated: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

It’s time to petition our lawmakers and make our voices heard. It’s time to tell them that we want mandatory minimum sentences for even the first time offenders. If you want to make your voices heard and make a difference, contact us now  and let’s take a stand.

As always, we welcome your comments. Please take a moment to tell us what you think about mandatory jail time for animal abuse, cruelty and neglect.

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