“According to a report issued by the state Legislature’s Office of Legislative Research earlier this year, 1,369 cases of animal cruelty were brought before the courts from 2004 through 2007. Of those, only 182 were found guilty and one was found not guilty. The vast majority of the cases — 1,186 — were either dismissed or nolled, meaning that prosecutors declined to pursue them.”
“Animal rights advocates believe that it’s not because the cases lacked merit but that judicial officials lacked interest.”
That means nearly 87% of animal cruelty cases are never prosecuted. The animal abusers who are prosecuted are given a slap on the wrist or the problem is handed off to someone else: another agency or another country. Abusive criminals are merely put on probation, put on medication, or put in a plane to a foreign country. Our courts don’t want to deal with our society’s rampant animal abuse.
This news comes from an article entitled “Few animal cruelty cases reach court” >>
The article describes three cases:
- Jay Baldwin killed and abused kittens. He was given a new form of “accelerated rehabilitation” tantamount to probation.
- J.D.* was charged with animal cruelty for starving dogs. He was given a suspended sentence and is now on probation.
- A man who drilled holes in a dog’s head was not prosecuted but instead deported.
While I don’t think harsh prison sentences will necessarily prevent animal abuse and while do think everyone deserves a fair trial (everyone is innocent until proven guilty) I do think our courts need to take animal cruelty more seriously. I agree with quoted Irene Hudobenko that “It’s a recognized fact that many who commit violent crimes against people often start out on animals.” For the safety of our citizens and for the moral development of our society, we must take animal cruelty very seriously.
Moreover, that’s just the cruelty that’s recognized by law. For instance, everyday cruelty that happens in factory farms and slaughterhouses doesn’t count because that’s not illegal (yet). This cruelty is utterly ignored, by courts as well as the public:
*Name shortened to initials per comments.