Animal Cruelty Must Stop This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 12, 2009
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Every day in the United States animals are beaten, neglected, or forced to struggle for survival. Left in unsanitary conditions with no food or water, they have little hope as they live out their days without the compassion they deserve. Some are found and rescued, given the chance to experience how great life and humans can be; others aren't so lucky. To grow as a nation, we must fight for these abused animals' rights and severely punish heartless owners. It is up to us to speak for these creatures who lack a voice, for who will if we don't?

One of the first steps in protecting animals and ­creating effective cruelty laws is knowing what animal cruelty actually is. There are two categories: passive cruelty and active cruelty. The first ­involves acts of omission, meaning the abuse happens as a result of neglect or lack of action. Passive cruelty might seem less serious, but that is not the case; it can lead to terrible pain and suffering, and ultimately death. Examples include starvation, dehydration, untreated parasite infestations, inadequate shelter in extreme weather conditions, and the failure to get medical care. Passive cruelty is sometimes due to the owner's ignorance, so many animal control officers will first try to educate neglectful owners on how to properly care for animals before giving them a citation or placing them under arrest.

Active cruelty, on the other hand, is more well known and disturbing. Sometimes referred to as non-accidental injury, this type of abuse involves purposefully inflicting harm on an animal in order to feel more powerful or gain control. Active cruelty against animals should be taken very seriously, since it can be a sign that a person has serious psychological issues and may commit more acts of violence – possibly against humans.

It is hard to tell just what drives people to harm innocent animals. “According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Northeastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse,” says It is vital to report people who hurt animals. Most animal abusers find some sort of fulfillment or power in torturing a victim they know can't fight back, which is why crimes like rape and child molestation are committed. While not all animal abusers become serial killers or rapists, it is important to take every case seriously.

For example, Carroll Edward Cole was a West Coast serial killer who may have murdered as many as 35 women in the 1970s and ྌs, and was executed in 1985. Based on Cole's testimony, his first violent act was strangling a puppy. The Columbine school shooting is another example of animal abuse as a precursor to human violence. Before killing 12 classmates and then turning the guns on themselves, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebod had bragged to friends about mutilating animals. If these acts had been reported to authorities and taken seriously, these two young men might have been put in a proper facility and helped, possibly avoiding the horrific massacre.

Given these examples, it's hard to imagine why all states don't take animal cruelty seriously. Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota have no felony provisions for cruelty to animals. According to the Humane Society, a good felony anticruelty law should protect all animals, apply to first-time offenders, carry large fines and lengthy prison time, have no exemptions, require convicted abusers to get counseling at their own expense, and prohibit abusers from owning or living among animals. Along with these laws we need officials who will strongly enforce them. Police, psychologists, and even the FBI recognize the link between animal cruelty and violence against people. To better protect communities, all states should institute strong penalties and work to increase public awareness of these crimes.

It's not only up to the legal system to ensure that communities across the country are aware and educated about animal cruelty. There are plenty of things everyday citizens can do. The simplest action is for people to take care of their own pets and learn the facts so they can educate others on proper animal care. Another easy way to help is by donating to or volunteering at a local animal shelter. Contrary to popular belief, volunteering doesn't require a lot of time; simply going in a few hours a week helps tremendously. Finally, by writing letters you can remind your local lawmakers that animal abuse is a real problem that needs to be addressed. Taking a few minutes to support this worthy cause not only helps animals, it allows you to feel proud about standing up for something so important to society.

It is our job to be the voice for creatures who cannot speak up for themselves. As a nation we need to make it our priority to come together and ensure the safety of our beloved pets. As Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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ThisGuyKnowsStuff said...
Mar. 12, 2015 at 9:47 am
Being a vegetarian will not help animals,In fact it will hurt them more.Without meat eaters like Lions plant eating species will overpopulate and eat most of the plant life and when they run out they will starve to death.Meat eaters keep the world balanced. The Zebra eats the grass the Lion eats the Zebra the Lion dies after while and decomposes then the nutrients from the lion sink in the ground and grass grows from it.The circle of life... and we should not interfere.But i agree Animal is horrible.
Bee901 replied...
May 27, 2015 at 3:54 pm
Lion King!
the vegetarian replied...
Jan. 31, 2016 at 10:57 am
ThisGuyKnowsStuff You are right on the circle of life thing. But this is applied to the jungle. In our society now we have to much people who eat to much meat. By doing that you wil ellimenate most grass eters and therefor there wil be an overpopulation of grass and unwanted weed. Therefor vegetarianism is not pointless. and sorry for my bad english.
Pablo1888 said...
Mar. 5, 2015 at 10:35 am
How many words are in this in total?
Ronece. .. said...
Mar. 4, 2015 at 8:55 am
Animals need love too...not only humans...STOP ANIMAL ABUSE!!!
Dogabuseisntcool said...
Jan. 28, 2015 at 8:52 am
Hey just because dogs are out there doesn't mean that they are just mean just like pit bulls they are just awsome
christ77 replied...
Jun. 19, 2015 at 11:31 am
I read this book when I was in junior high and cried my eyes out. Such a moving story! I love animals and really connected with the book. Does anyone know what kind of dog is on the book cover?
SallySunshine87 said...
Jan. 15, 2015 at 3:42 pm
So Sad!! No Animal Should Be Hurt or Killied I Mean Why!!!
Reno123 replied...
Jun. 3, 2015 at 7:20 pm
Actually, ThisGuyKnowsStuff, comparing humans to lions as to why we should eat meat is unfair and not logical. Yes it is true that lions eat meat to survive, but lions also sometimes kill the runts of their own litters. What if murderers used that part of lion behaviour to justify killing humans. Also, how is stopping the killing of millions of factory farmed animals each year harming animals more? Nice try, ThisGuyKnowsStuff, but your'e not quite there yet.
tori said...
Jan. 15, 2015 at 9:11 am
wow animals should not be abused like that. they don't want to be treated like that. what if you were an animal would you want to be abused? NO!!!! we also eat animals which is wrong too they deserve a good life just like us. obviously I am a vegetarian. lets stop abusing and eating animals I mean for real would you like a lion or another animal to eat you? lets STOP FGOREVER!!!!! :)
Supermanlover1998 replied...
Jan. 17, 2015 at 3:51 pm
she has a good point there i am a vegetarian too and i agree
Penguins_R_Cool replied...
Mar. 23, 2015 at 2:08 am
Ok, I totally agree that animal abuse should stop...but we need other animals to survive! Like meat, we need it to make us better and stronger. I don't think animal abuse is right, but we need to eat animals to survive. It's the circle of life for us, and without eating them, that's a lot of our food supply gone, plus they would repopulate and there would be way to many. Animal Abuse isn't right, but eating animals is essential for our survival.
Reno123 replied...
Jun. 3, 2015 at 7:27 pm
Hello, Penguins_R_Cool. You've got some facts mixed up. Abouve, you stated that humans need animals to be stronger and better. This is quite untrue. Did you know that meat and other animal products are actually detrimental to our health? In fact, according to the China Study, consuming protein from animal products increases your chances for osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and cancers like liver cancer. You can get all of your needed nutrients from plant-based foods, without having a terri... (more »)
RosesRose said...
Dec. 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm
I like this not all lot about animals I would realy like that alot
The Flash said...
Nov. 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm
Animals are awesome no one should treat them like that:(  
RosesRose replied...
Dec. 11, 2014 at 5:20 pm
I think nobody should abuse animals because if you are that animal would you like that
matt wst said...
Aug. 26, 2014 at 6:08 pm
gogirl341 said...
Jun. 21, 2014 at 2:47 am
Animal Cruelty is no laughing matter! People need to change! What kind of sick minded people actually could harm sweet innocent animals and end their lives! Support LUSH trying to remove animal testing from cosmetics! Nothing is changing so we need to do something about it
jeffgo200 said...
Jun. 10, 2014 at 9:12 pm
For my U.S. Government project i am researching animal abuse. In my research i have taken a position against it in all forms. Animals are abuse many ways in the united states, including domestically, in laboratories, etc. Most of these cases are never reported, and animal abuse is becoming a growing issue. For example, every year, 900-2000 more cases of animal hoarding are found than the year before. Also, with possibly over 70 million stray cats and dogs in the united states, we need to find a ... (more »)
Apr. 30, 2014 at 9:37 pm
Thank you that is soo true.WE have the practice of lokking the other way... we have to STOP animal cruelty
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