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Harsher Punishment for Perpatrators in Animal Cruelty Crimes

01 December 2010 Harsher punishments for perpetrators in animal cruelty crimes Why can a perpetrator abuse and torture animals and get no punishment for it At the most these perpetrators get fine or probation. Even worse they are a loud to have animals in their possession after a few years. To know that someone can beat to death or mutilate a poor defenseless animal and get away with it sickens me. It takes a sick individual to be able to do such things to a living being. Someone like this is a danger not only to animals, but also to the people. What is it going to take for our government to change the laws on animal cruelty I say we should all hold our government accountable for the laws and demand tougher punishments for animal cruelty. How many animals have to suffer before something takes effect to protect them Animals are unable to speak for themselves, so if those of us who care about the humane treatment of living beings say nothing on their behalf, who will In the United States all 50 states have some kind of laws regarding animal abuse and cruelty. In most states the abuse is only a misdemeanor, although some states have included felony level statutes for certain types of animal abuse. However, perpetrators being charged with felonies in these types of cases do not receive the punishment of a felony crime. We need harsher punishments for perpetrators who torture, abuse, neglect, inflict pain in any way, or kill innocent animals. Our laws are not tough enough for perpetrators who engage in such horrific crimes and barely get a punishment. In any area of life that a person does something wrong and gets away with it, they will most likely do again. The same goes for perpetrators who commit cruelty acts against animals and continue to get away with it. Therefore they will keep doing it, because nothing is being implemented to stop these awful acts. For example, a person that intentionally harms an animal is a type of person that shows strong signs indicating they have some kind of psychological or behavioral problems. This can be the start of many problems in more ways than one, because animal abuse is linked to many different forms of violence all across the board. Many serial killers or murderers started out abusing and torturing animals, because they received no punishment for harming animals they turned to a more challenging victim such as a human. (Enjoy learning online) By enforcing stricter animal cruelty laws it will not only drop criminal acts of abuse toward animals, but it could very well stop a dangerous pattern in its tracks before it spirals out of control. Statistics show 70 percent of the people who committed violent crimes against animals also had records of other crimes. Animal abusers were found five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people, and three times more likely to have a record for disorderly conduct or drug offenses. (Enjoy learning online) Animal abuse is an issue that is often disregarded as being a major problem, but if it were a human who was abused or violently murdered it would matter. It would be a huge issue to the media, law enforcement and the surrounding communities, maybe even the surrounding states. Our hearts would feel for the families of the victims, and normally during such a tragedy we would unite as a community to try to assist the families who are suffering. To me, this is not any different, regardless if the victim is a animal or human. A murderer is a murderer, a rapist is a rapist, and someone who mutilates any innocent being or murders in cold blood is no different. I truly believe society has numbed their selves to avoid dealing with the issue at hand. One reason possibly due to our upbringing as a child, we were taught early in life to just except it. Another reason may be because it is an unpopular topic causing it to be even more uncomfortable for some to face. For some, you may feel that your voice alone will make no difference in our laws today. In many cases animals are not considered as important as humans, and some of the population does not care about the way they are treated. However, I do believe that there are many people in this world who would agree with me when I say it is time for our laws to change for the better. It is time we all speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, because it is the right thing to do. Stronger laws mean tougher punishments, and animal cruelty has little to none of a punishment allowed by law at this time. Most perpetrators who commit such acts are completely aware they will only get a fine or probation. However, if such violent acts were committed to a human, a perpetrator would be looking at serious charges followed by a tougher sentence. Animals are unable to protect or speak for themselves, therefore we need to be their voice. With increased awareness to this issue, more people and organizations are coming forward to protest against animal cruelty. Many are pushing forward to take strong steps in an attempt to stop this horrible and unacceptable behavior from happening. Even though the public awareness has allowed some animal cruelty cases to be highlighted, it is only a fraction of the total number of actual cases happening everyday in our neighborhoods. Most cities and states have some kind of government animal care or control agencies that investigate animal neglect or cruelty. In many areas a private nonprofit organization such as the humane society may be of assistance to investigations of reported animal abuse or neglect. These organizations often employ specially trained humane agents who have been designated by state or local authority. In some cases animal officers may have law enforcement training, as well as the authority to issue citations or charge perpetrators with animal related crimes. In other cases they may not have enforcement authority at all, but they have established a close relationship with the local police. This allows them to work closely as a team to enforce our existing laws that are currently in affect. In areas where there are no special animal related organizations or resources, cruelty complaints will be the responsibility of the local police department. First, I am going to explain in detail the many different types of animal abuse or neglect that officers or the communities usually see. Neglect Most reported cases of animal cruelty involve failure to provide enough food, water, shelter or veterinary care to their animals. Usually these types of cases are handled by local animal control or humane agencies, in an effort to educate the offender regarding better ways to provide proper care. If education proves ineffective, then further actions to protect the animals well being may be taken under local ordinances. However, cases involving large numbers of animals or which cause death or serious harm to animals may be charged as a misdemeanor or possibly a felony offense. Cruel or Malicious Neglect Many states make distinctions between failing to take proper care of animals, and intentionally or knowingly withholding food or water needed to prevent dehydration or starvation. On one hand, some states fail to recognize neglect as a level of intentional cruelty. On the other hand, some states treat it as unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering and charge it as a serious offense. Intentional Abuse or Torture Specifically, cases of intentional cruelty are the acts that are of greatest concern to the public. There is a legitimate fear that the individuals involved in violent acts against animals present a danger to public, which should immediately be addressed. Unfortunately, these types of cases involve extreme violence such as repeatedly beating, stabbing, cutting, suffocating, drowning, shooting or mutilating an animal. Intentional animal abuse is often seen in association with other crimes including drug offenses, gang activity, weapons violations, sexual assault and domestic violence. These types of cases are usually a little easier to prosecute, because the intent of the offense is more clearly recognized. Animal Hoarding Animal control and law enforcement agencies are reporting a growing number of these types of cases. Hoarding cases involve large numbers of animals kept in extremely poor conditions, often resulting in the death of many animals due to disease and starvation. The common signs of a animal hoarder are deteriorating conditions and are often in denial that there is a problem. ???Animal hoarders often insist that all their animals are happy and healthy when there are clear signs of illness???. (qtd. in aspca- animal hoarding) These types of cases can be difficult to prosecute because of the large number of animals involved, and due to the mental health state of the perpetrator. In many of these cases it seems as though the perpetrator is seen as sympathetic and caring, rather than someone who has caused large numbers of animals to suffer. Ritualistic Abuse The phrase ???ritualistic animal abuse??? immediately brings many disturbing images to mind. In many of these crimes in which animals are killed or mutilated ,and left where they will be discovered immediately raise fears of satanic or cult activity, and concern about what other crimes the perpetrator has committed or may be capable of committing. The term ritual abuse means repeated, extreme, sadistic abuse, especially of children and animals, with in a group setting. ( RA info) Yet due to the nature of these crimes there is a even greater need for careful, rational, systematic investigation of the evidence and care in prosecution. Police and prosecutors often believe that these cases cannot be successfully prosecuted, because juries will disregard all evidence once testimony about religion, ideology, or conspiracy have been introduced. (RA Info) Law enforcement are recognizing the need to be knowledgeable of unfamiliar or occult practices that they encounter but, at the same time they have to stay objective on the actions that may constitute a crime and not be distracted by constitutionally protected beliefs that are unconventional. It amazes me that perpetrators can actually justify this horrible act as a religious practice, and even worse our very own constitution can assist in there protection from the punishment they deserve. Animal Sexual Assault ( Bestiality) Case facts of bestiality most often involves individual animals assaulted by their owners in their homes, to organized sexual animal assault at hidden locations. (aldf-article) Human animal sexual contact often causes pain or death to the animal, and animals are unable to consent to or communicate about their abuse. Prosecution for these types of cases are rare, because the present testimony. Many legislatures have reenacted provisions specifically targeting bestiality as distinct from other traditional crimes against nature or animal cruelty crimes, and these laws continually change. ???As other types of criminal cases of animal abuse, the animal victims in bestiality cases are in danger of being returned to their abuser if the state laws are weak or underutilized on the issue of forfeiture???. (qtd. in aldf-article) ??? Where the law requires some kind of evidence, animals must wait out the week and months of a pending criminal prosecution before they are legally available for adoption???. (qtd. in aldf-article) Organized abuse, Cockfighting, or Dog fighting These types of abuse are known as blood sports and are often found in connection to other organized crimes such as illegal gambling, drug dealing, illegal gun sales, and murder. Cockfighting is one type of blood sport, commonly involving two roosters enclosed in a area to fight to the death. ???Left to themselves, roosters almost never hurt each other badly???. However, ???in cockfights, birds often wear razor sharp blades to their legs, causing them injuries like punctured lungs, broken bones, pierced eyes, and eventually death???. (qtd. in Humane Society cockfighting) These perpetrators let the birds suffer, leaving them with untreated injuries, and typically throwing them in the trash at the end of the fight, or even leaving them to die a slow and painful death. All involved birds suffer a great deal just for perpetrators to place bets in an attempt to gamble. Cockfighting is illegal in every state, but the penalties for the crime vary depending on the state. Whether it is a crime of cockfighting, possession of fighting cocks, or possession of cockfighting weapons, makes the difference between a felony or a misdemeanor. Ohio is one of many states that need to toughen their penalties for cockfighting and crack down on this cruel blood sport. Dog fighting is another type of organized blood sport, in which two dogs, usually a pit bull breed, are put into an enclosed area for the purpose of attacking and often killing each other. Perpetrators will choose a dog they believe will win, in an attempt to win money, and place bets on that dog. On average, fights last about one hour, but sometimes these fights can last two hours or longer. So you can imagine the damage each dog can do to one another with in an hour or longer of fighting. The fight does not end until one of the dogs is no longer able or willing to continue fighting. Dog fights usually end in serious injury or death for one or both of the dogs involved in this horrible act of cruelty. ???Dog fighters sometimes kill the losing dogs, and even winning dogs will sometimes die from their wounds???.(qtd. in Humane Society dog fighting) Police will often find evidence of other committed crimes during raids such as drugs, guns, and even murder in connection with dog fighting. ???All fighting dogs suffer, whether in the pin or out, they mainly live isolated on chains or locked in cages???. (qtd. in Humane Society dog fighting) Dog fighting is a felony offense in all fifty states, the District of Colombia, Guam, Puerto Rica and the Virgin Islands, the interstate transportation of dogs for the purpose of fighting is prohibited by law. Forty eight states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands prohibit being a spectator at a dog fight. (Humane society dog fighting state laws) Animal Crush Videos Animal crush fetish videos involve women in high heels or barefoot stomping a small animal to death for the purpose of sexual gratification. In these videos men record women dominating small animals such as kittens, puppies, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, mice, and many others. These women will impale their heels into small animals often letting them suffer in extreme pain before they kill them. ???The torture is intentionally drawn out for many minutes or even hours, during which time the animals??™ cries and squeals are featured, along with their excretion of blood, urine, and organs as they are crushed to death???. (Humane Society press release bill) These videos are not only horrifying, but they are extreme acts of animal cruelty and should be illegal. CNN news gives reports on a Supreme Court battle over this issue, regarding banning these types of animal crush videos from the internet, or any sales of these videos in the United States. CNN news reported that President Obama administration wants the Supreme Court to pass a law against crush videos. President Clinton passed a federal ???Crush Act??? law in 1999, banning the creation, sale or possession of animal cruelty for commercial gain. The phrase ???Crush Act??? is a common but not accurate enough description of the legislation. The crush videos that must by definition show a living animal that is intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, wounded, or killed were banned. This act did not apply to any depiction that had a serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical, or artistic value. The original animal crush act passed in 1999 was written to broadly to enforce it by law. The people who make these cruel videos are protesting this law violates the first amendment of free speech. CNN reports that congress is trying to ???decide if this law should be rewritten to prohibit certain cruelty behavior, or should this horrible act be protected by free speech???. ???These are illegal activities in every state in the nation???. (qtd. in CNN News) ???You should not be able to get an exemption just because you claim expressive content???. ???As long as these videos are legal it is going to encourage this type of behavior???.(qtd. in CNN News) As a result of speaking up and pushing for the right of animals, the Humane Society can now claim another victory in finally winning congressional approval for the Animal Crush Prohibition Act of 2010. This Legislation is more specific, and will ban the creation and distribution of obscene animal torture videos that show intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, and impaling of puppies, kittens and other live animals for the titillation of the viewers. The senate gave its unanimous approval just days after the house took action on the bill, and is being sent to president Obama for signature into law. (Humane Society press release bill) In summary, please understand that by you supporting tougher punishments for perpetrators in animal cruelty crimes you are also protecting your community and country from allowing these kinds of people to be lurking around your neighborhood. Research has proved that these kinds of crimes are linked to many different types of violent crimes. So even if you do not believe in animal rights laws I hope you see that harsher punishments for animal cruelty crimes is very important in protecting not only animals and people, but also making someone think about the consequences for their actions, as well as punishing perpetrators for their horrible acts, and possibly preventing a pattern from ever beginning. Works Citied Galz, Anthony. ??? Stricter punishments for animal cruelty.??? Enjoy learning online Jan 2009. 05 Nov. 2010 Humane Society of the United States. ???Dog Fighting State laws.??? Humane Society Organization Sept 2009. 10 Nov. 2010 Humane Society of the United States. ???Animal abuse or neglect.??? Humane Society Organization 2010. 10 Nov. 2010 Humane Society of the United States. ???Cockfighting.??? Humane Society Organization 2010. 10 Nov. 2010 Humane Society of the United States. ???Dogfighting.??? Humane Society Organization 2010. 10 Nov. 2010 Humane Society of the United States. ???Bill to crack down on Animal Crush Videos wins final U.S. Senate and House approval.??? Humane Society Organization 19 Nov. 2010. 26 Nov. 2010 ASPCA NYC. ???Animal Hoarding.??? ASPCA Organization 2010. 26 Nov. 2010 Ritual Abuse, Ritual Crime and Healing. ???Laws against ritual abuse.??? RA 04 Dec. 2008 22 Nov. 2010 Animal Legal Defense Fund. ???The crime of Bestiality.??? ALDF organization 2009. 26 Nov. 2010 CNN News ???Animal Cruelty vs. Free speech??? 06 Oct. 2009. 16 Nov 2010