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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Madmax said...
Oct. 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm
petition for horses torture for fun in Mexico. Horses lovers respond! I will send my petition and I need as many signatures that I can to have the responsible people to be punished for such cruelty. Could not paste the petition link! So, pe-lease, e-mail me and I will forward this petition!
kisha said...
Aug. 4, 2013 at 5:48 am
I love animals verrrrrryyyyyy much and cant bear thei abuse.I m strictly against this
Chloelou said...
Mar. 25, 2013 at 2:08 pm
This is animal abuse they are just like us and the people who do that to them they would not like it if it happened to them would they??? Sick people out there x
cherry-lee replied...
May 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm
I agree with you a 100%, because they bleed red just like we do and they have feeling just like we do.someone wouldn't like it if they were treated like animals are.
colorwriter13 said...
Feb. 14, 2013 at 3:35 pm
I also feel strongly about this topic. Great job! I actually just had  one of my poems about a the same topic published on the site. it's called Every Day. No more animal abuse!
kiki said...
Dec. 12, 2012 at 12:26 pm
animal crulte is wrong
layla89 replied...
May 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm
This is a great essay ! GOOD JOB (:
Pewdiepie said...
Dec. 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm
i love cate sooooo much  
belieber4evr said...
Nov. 8, 2012 at 8:51 pm
what is the summaryof this article
Emma T said...
Sept. 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm
I couldn't agree more, there is no excuse for <a href="">animal cruelty</a> and it HAS to stop. It's almost unbearable for me to hear about the mistreatment of animals, especially in the cases were it's done so ruthlessly. I really do not understand how someone can do it.   A really informative article and I really hope more people get to read this! I'll definitely be sharing it around my circle of friends, hope... (more »)
animals replied...
May 19, 2013 at 11:16 pm
Please stop all animal abuse. Horses are been slaughter and been sold to stores for people to eat. This is so stupid. I would like to see tougher laws for animal abusers and longer jail time and bigger fines to be used to help other animals that are been abused. I want this to end now!!!
sallysunshine said...
Jun. 25, 2012 at 5:52 am
Poorly written article. wee, poo
kiki replied...
Dec. 12, 2012 at 12:31 pm
u r sooooooooooooo mean
colorwriter13 replied...
Feb. 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm
If you don't have something noce to say sallysunshine don't say it at all.
Fuck u replied...
May 11, 2015 at 7:29 am
Wrong wrong wrong the answer is wrong I'm joking that was amazing A* for you eh
patsy456 said...
May 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm
i love thearticle so much i'm wondering how the author felt when he wrotethis?
prisk001 said...
May 7, 2012 at 10:59 pm
does anyone know the date this article was posted/written?
jade westphal said...
Apr. 19, 2012 at 5:07 pm
I wrote a long message two times so im just going to with the point here and that is that animals have the right to do what they want just like we do. Ther probly dont look  like humans on the outside there humans in the inside and if you were them and they were us would you like them to kill our family because i sure wouldent. My other ones were better and more understanding but i just got to the piont here.
Janete said...
Apr. 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Brilliant! Thank you for an excellent article and thank you for being such an aware and caring young person.  You are a breathe of fresh air.  

Your article is interesting as well as educational.  Everything you say are my own beliefs.  And I agree, we must change the laws to protect the voiceless, we protect the guilty and not the compassionate and this must change.  

This generation is fading and will soon pass away, a... (more »)

sallysunshine replied...
Jun. 25, 2012 at 5:55 am
you spelt breath wrong