Sunday, April 3, 2011

You call that "Throwing the book at 'em"? I call it pathetic...

Case 1: On June 17, 2010, Bobby Elliott of Merritt, British Columbia, tied his Golden Lab mix named April Rain to the back of his truck and dragged her around. He claimed he was giving her "exercise." A kind bystander find April Rain badly injured and took her to a vet. Elliot's punishment?

He was sentenced to 30 days of house arrest and another 60 days of arrest with certain conditions.He is required to pay $2100 in restitution to Angel's Animal Rescue, the organization that rehabilitated the dog. Elliott is banned from owning a dog for the next five years. (Source)

Case 2: Kisha Curtis, age 28, employee at Klimaaxxpromos Girls, an adult entertainment agency in Newark, N.J., starved her pit bull and then tossed the emaciated dog down a garbage chute on March 16, where the poor, whimpering animal was left to die. Once again, a kind soul found the dog and saved him by taking him to the vet. The pit bull was named Patrick (pictured above) and he has become a Facebook celebrity. Legions of wonderful folks from around the world have donated to help this beautiful dog (Source) Meantime, latest reports indicate that Curtis is out of jail and her $10,000 bail has been dismissed. (Source)

Case 3: In Rhode Island, State Rep. David Bennett is fed up. And with good reason. He was outraged when he heard that local authorities fined a Providence woman $50 for "mistreating" her Labrador retriever mix after the starving animal was found suffering from dehydration and hypothermia. Bennett decided the animal protection laws weren't strong enough. He has co-sponsored a bill that will fine animal abusers $1,000 and prohibit them from owning an animal for five years. The bill awaits a vote in Rhode Island's General Assembly. (Source)

The common thread running through these cases is obvious. Across North America, anti-abuse laws are not strict enough. Too many sadists, sociopaths and thugs are able to adopt animals. And when they harm those animals, laws do not serve as deterrents to prevent them from engaging in these types of abuse in the future. If anything, the laws in place in most parts of the United States and Canada encourage abusers and fail to protect the abused.

Good for Representative Bennett and others like him who are out there fighting the good fight on behalf of animals. More people are needed in the trenches. Our anti-abuse laws don't go far enough. The time to toughen those is long overdue.

Look at the lines of pain etched into Patrick's face (above). He makes a beautiful "poster dog" on behalf of the need to clamp down and hit animal abusers hard.


  1. Do you know of any source that collects crime statistics about animal abuse and correlates them with punishment severity or "tough" laws? It would be interesting to see if the intuitive notion that severity of consequence = a decrease in the offense is actually true.

  2. Good question. In the case of animal abuse, I don't think such statistics exist, chiefly for the reason that I don't think the punishments have ever been particularly stiff. One would probably have to examine crimes committed against people. I know when it comes to capital punishment, there is a lot of debate about whether it is actually a deterrent, with opponents insisting there is no evidence that it actually deters crime and supporters insisting it does. I think both sides tend to cherry-pick the evidence that suits them. To be honest, I think it would be hard to determine the extent to which tough laws are actually a deterrent. But I do believe very weak - almost nonexistent - laws almost serve as an invitation to be broken.

  3. I agree, weak laws are virtually tacit approval but I suspicion that there is something like a "natural curve" sort of correlation between severity of punishment and deterrence, viz: increased severity = increased deterrence up to a point then a sort of "diminishing returns" phenomenon...

    It would be interesting to see data re correlation of criminal behavior of all sorts paired with information re severity of punishment for animal cruelty. Are more enlightened areas (more severe punishment for offenses against animals) areas that are afflicted with less criminal behavior in other areas?

    Much to think about here, thanks for your writings...