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Animal Abuse – When Is It Going To Be Taken Seriously?
You’ve probably heard the names Bundy, Dahmer, Gacy; all the names of notorious killers and what do they all have in common? They started out as animal abusers. What about names; Kip Kinkle and Luke Woodham or Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold? Not quite so well known except in certain circles and in the minds and memories of their victims and families. These two pairs of names belong to teenagers who continued to kill, the second pair are the infamous Columbine High School killers. What do they all have in common? They all tortured and killed animals, sometimes bragging to their friends. Now what about names; Dasha Lombard, James Manzanares and Nicholas Stogdon? Probably not unless you live in Alamogordo, MN and know them or pay attention to the news in the late spring of this year 2007. They are three “kids”, ages 15, 14 and 13 at the time, who found a stray puppy and decided to have fun. They taped the dog’s muzzle down with duct tape, stabbed her with a knife and screwdriver, and began knocking a 40-pound concrete block down on her. When asked about it, the response was, “It was just a fucking dog!” These “children” were completely unaffected by the torture they inflicted on this innocent and defenseless animal.
And it wasn’t the first encounter with the law for any of them. These three teenagers are not new to their antisocial behavior. Lombard was charged with having a deadly weapon on school property, charged with criminal damage to property when she allegedly spray-painted an elementary school playground, previous charges include robbery display and resistance, evasion and obstruction of an officer as well as numerous incidents of school disturbances, usually involving insulting teachers. Manzanares’ background includes shoplifting (including an incident where he was with co-defendant Stogdon), disorderly conduct, theft, receiving stolen property, and burglary. Stogdon was repeatedly accused of shoplifting; twice for battery on a member of the household; to run away; and for burglary.
There was a case in Macon, Georgia earlier this year in which three boys, two 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old burned two dogs to death. Before that, they had run-ins with the law and after their arrest, but while in the custody of their parents, they committed other crimes. Each of these boys was sentenced to 60 days in detention. That’s it, just 60 days of detention!
Then we have one of the last to add to this list of horrors committed by “children” against animals. A 5-month-old Chihuahua mix, Tobey, was stolen from his own yard in Guadalupe County, Texas by three ‘kids’. The 12, 14 and 16 year old boys took this little pup to an abandoned house and threw the pup out the second story window several times until his hind legs were broken, hung him from a tree by these mutilated and broken legs, beat it with a nail board, light it on fire and finally cut off its head. The boys were arrested at the scene and questioned, they showed no remorse for the torture they inflicted on this little pup. At most, these three boys will remain in juvenile detention until the age of nineteen.
These are just a few of the many incidents that exist and these are just juvenile cases. You can bet that in the future you will hear about some of them again. Their names and faces will grace front pages and headlines and their crimes will not only be against animals but against people.
Every day I hear stories of animal abusers being given such lenient sentences that people who hear about them are simply shocked and furious;
Charles J. Friel III, 22, of Allen Street in Philadelphia beat a dog that was in his care and left him chained to a tree with fractured skulls and ribs to suffer and die a gruesome death last year and was sentenced to probation.
John W. Meyer, 41, of Shotkoski Drive in Hoffman Estates, IL, killed a puppy for urinating on the carpet. He threw a 7-month-old, 4lb 14ft Chihuahua across the room against a wall, then slapped the little dog so hard he broke a paw, all in front of two children and he was sentenced to probation.
Marlene S. Diaz, 24, of Cooper Street in Manchester, Connecticut, had a tiny Chihuahua locked in the basement for so long and in such terrible conditions that when the dog’s path was found after an anonymous tip by an employee of Connecticut Natural Gas, she weighed about a third of what she should have weighed. She was just a skeleton covered in skin and a vet had no choice but to euthanize the dog due to the severity of her condition. Diaz was sentenced to probation.
Maryanne Adams, of Greenwood Lake, NY, starved a dog to death. A beautiful St. Bernard husky mix she adopted from human society was left in the yard, starved, waterless, freezing, to die a horrible death. And his sentence, community service! Warwick City Judge Daniel Coleman didn’t even care enough to give him probation, let alone a real sentence!
These are just a few cases in which the criminals were actually identified and convicted. They are all common knowledge. But what about all the cases of animal abuse and cruelty in which no one is ever identified? The monsters there still walk the streets free to inflict their atrocities on other animals or fight their way to human victims.
Too often, laws that target animal abusers are too lenient, too vague or not enforced. There are still 7 states that don’t even have criminal animal cruelty provisions; Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah. There are still two states that have no criminal provisions for dog fighting; Idaho and Wyoming.
These are not opinions, these are facts! And it is also a fact that there is a strong and indisputable correlation between animal abuse and interpersonal violence. This is one of the main reasons why animal abusers need to be dealt with harshly, not only for the cruelties inflicted on innocent, helpless animals, which is certainly bad enough, but for the cruelties that many these abusers will continue to inflict on them. human victims.
Isn’t it high time for our justice system and lawmakers to start taking animal abuse seriously? It’s time to stand up and speak out for those who don’t have the voice to speak for themselves! It’s time to demand justice for the innocent victims!
Are you going to sit back and, like so many people, just ignore it because you think it doesn’t concern you or are you going to get up and take action? Don’t wait until it’s too late and it’s your beloved pet or perhaps your child, spouse, parent or family member who is affected. Write, call, email and fax your legislators and ask for changes. Isn’t it time to take animal abuse seriously?
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