THE ANIMAL ADVOCATE: Animal Cruelty Laws Need Fangs, Slam Cell Door Shut On Offenders
By Rebecca Stroud // September 6, 2015
Almost every evening on the 6-o’clock news, there is a graphic segment about an animal abuse situation.
Almost every morning in the paper, there is a printed replica. In all these instances, almost every perpetrator receives a mere misdemeanor slap on the wrist.
Although there are laws designed to protect animals against inhumane treatment, most become toothless wonders due to haphazard or non-existent enforcement. A recent case in my area brought to light just how lenient the system is.
After his arrest, the owner of a variety of animals – dogs, turtle, lizard, to name a few – apparently told the court that he withheld food and water from them as a disciplinary measure. Yep, that’s what he said…I’ll teach that turtle or else.
In addition, all of the animals were cooped up in a filthy apartment, never seeing the natural light of day; many of them died.
But when we’re talking about the slow, agonizing death of one of God’s creatures – be it done out of deliberate neglect or simply for the “fun” of it – I’m all for slamming the cell door and hiding the key for the maximum amount of time stipulated by law. I wish prosecutors and judges felt the same way.
Actually, if it hadn’t been for one of the dogs jumping out a window to escape, all would have perished sooner rather than later because no one had a clue about the conditions in this hellhole.
Although this particular moron was indeed convicted of felony animal cruelty, his lawyer supposedly found enough loopholes that will result in a new trial many months down the road.
So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what will most likely happen next…out of sight, out of mind, out of jail. On to the next headline, folks.
Disgustingly, this case is relatively mild compared to some I’ve encountered over the years. Yet I very rarely hear of any punishment befitting this heinous and hideous crime.
And I never will until, collectively, we raise a mighty ruckus. We can continue to wring our hands in sad despair or we can come out swinging.
For although it’s been said that a country can be judged by the way it treats its animals, what about the way it coddles their abusers?
We can talk rehabilitation, psychological evaluation, probation, and community service until we’re blue in the face. And that’s probably all well and good for a kid caught smoking pot.
But when we’re talking about the slow, agonizing death of one of God’s creatures – be it done out of deliberate neglect or simply for the “fun” of it – I’m all for slamming the cell door and hiding the key for the maximum amount of time stipulated by law.
I wish prosecutors and judges felt the same way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Stroud is a former newspaper reporter and columnist. She is now an independent author who has published numerous books and stories, including The Killing Sands, Murder 9.0, Dragon’s Moon, Devil’s Moon, Do Unto Others, The Animal Advocate, A Three-Dog Night, Zellwood: A Dog Story and Jinxed.
In addition to writing, Stroud is an editor and avid animal lover. She lives in Cocoa with her husband and their adored catahoula-boxer mix.
To contact Stroud, e-mail RebeccaStroud@aol.com