I firmly believe that you cannot have a place in your heart for animals and not a penalty on your books for abusing them.
Well, after about two decades the last state in the union, South Dakota, has joined the rest of us in making animal cruelty a felony.
Why is it important to members of society? Well, we know that there is a strong correlation between domestic violence and animal abuse. Studies state that 70 - 80% of domestic violence victim reported previous or concurrent animal abuse. Being able to prosecute a person for acts of cruelty against a pet might save a child or spouse from years of abuse. Seems difficult to argue that doesn't it? Why wouldn't we want to have laws to punish people who inflict harm? Well, that's a good question and the answer to that is one of the reasons it has taken so many years to pass a cruelty law.
People opposed this law because they don't want the same rules and laws to apply to farm animals. Why? Well, I suppose they have a reason it is just not one that I understand. Cruelty is cruelty. Can there be a difference in that if the victim is something other than a person?
What is the role of the veterinarian in helping to protect people and pets? It's a tenuous and difficult answer. It is so difficult that in all cases it is a case by case answer. Do veterinarians report? Yes, a very few. Why, not more of them? Well, some veterinarians might not want to report because they feel that they should only report if they are SURE it is abuse, and, we make a living from the public bringing in their pets. If word got out that we are reporting our clients many vets worry that clients will not come in. Of course, that's a ridiculous thing for me to understand. I see my job as being the advocate for the pet. Taking care of them is my responsibility, and I could never live with myself IF I didn't say something and someone was being hurt.
What can we do? Well, we are all neighbors, friends, relatives, teachers, civil servants, and caregivers. We are all responsible for watching over each other. Talk to your friends, be a shoulder to lean on, and get help if you think someone, or something is in danger.
|The best kind of selfie?|
One with friend.
Me, well, I am always a shoulder to lean on and a kennel to house a pet in need of a safe place (did you know many women won't leave a dangerous home because they fear for their pets and many women's shelters can't house pets.safety?) to stay.
Facts About Animal Abuse and Domestic Violence, by the American Humane Association
Domestic Violence and Animal Cruelty, by the ASPCA
The Veterinarians Legal Role In Animal Cruelty Cases, ASPCA
For more information on South Dakota's law see;
Rapid City Journal article.
If you have a pet question of any kind, you can find me anytime at Pawbly.comIt is free to use and open to all of those who serve, love, and care for pets.
You can also find me at the clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville Maryland. Or, find me on Twitter, @FreePetAdvice.