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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This article has 206 comments. Post your own now!

sallysunshine said...
May 2, 2011 at 10:26 am
you people are all nerds
TakenGirl replied...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm
thats not nice at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
asiah said...
Apr. 29, 2011 at 8:38 am
the picture for this piece is breath taking! its so moving on a faith based prespective! great job.
kalenakiwi said...
Apr. 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm
I am a member of PETA and i have recently found out that many cats and dogs are geting skinned alive and its ridiculous.
JoJo said...
Apr. 7, 2011 at 8:53 pm
I like this story because it is not right to harm animals and also I know people who do harm animals and it does make me sad to see how people can just get an animal and not love it, feedit , and also beat it animals should not go through this pain
fgdg said...
Apr. 4, 2011 at 9:21 am

save the anamials


aj2324 said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 8:18 pm
I totallly agree with ur essay ,animals are so inncoent and sweet to be mistreated for no reason. people dont understand that  animals have hearts and feelings just like we do,their not robots with gears u can just twist around for ur own amusement. if u have to hurt animals to make ur life fun, than u got isssues
savanahsky101 said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 5:43 pm
i completely agree the way animals get treated makes me so sad to think someone would wanna hurt them, i just adopted a puppy from the shelter and she was badly underfed so i know what you mean!! animals are uh-may-zing!!
LettaToCute said...
Mar. 25, 2011 at 10:05 am
I love animals and to read about how they are being beatin is horrible people in the world dont see how important it is to have a pet in their life. Killing animals and torturing them  is the worst thing that anybody can do. I love my dog and if something ever happen to her I dont know what i will do. But this essay really had me thinkin about how important it is to have animals in your life.
aj2324 replied...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm
totally agree with u:) i wish our world wasnt so cruel!:(  people who abuse hav no right to be!
LeahB. said...
Mar. 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm
This is a very good essay. I'm actually doing an animal cruelty essay for my english class as well and this gave me inspiration to look for more links about animal abuse and people abuse to use in my essay :)
Cerberus said...
Mar. 8, 2011 at 9:34 pm
did you know that even early on as cave men wolves helped is survive? its rly kind of interesting.
sassysallyytiger said...
Feb. 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm
i know it fells bad cause my horse went throught the same and i will kill the man who did it to Montana
Shelbers said...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 3:44 pm
I am completely intrigued by this article.  I have always been a strong supporter of ending animal cruelty.  I am just glad to see that people are trying to inform others of this growing problem.

Also, for the people who are commenting about child abuse, which is also very important.  Take in consideration that this article pertains mostly to animal cruelty so there won't be much content in it about child abuse.  But yes, we should also fight again... (more »)
Rozaa said...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm
I think it is so wrong what people do to animals. I could never imagen hurting a animal. I love animals! Great article.
piggy333 replied...
Mar. 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm
i agree w/ you
Wolfheart said...
Jan. 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm
This is a great article and very informative. I am very big on preventing animal abuse, recycling, helping endangered species, etc. so this is the sort of thing that gets me going.
RallyR This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 19, 2010 at 3:07 pm
I completely agree but at the same time, while millions of people are fighting to save animals which are replaceable from abuse, millions upon millions of children around the world are being abused worse than an animal. Animals are only abused physically (and while I'm not saying it's right) while children are abused physically, mentally AND sexually. They don't have voices either.
Yohan Nokka said...
Dec. 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm
it does need to stop animals are living and have feelings like humans
gigastargirl said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm
yes animal abuse should stop. animals did nothing wrong to us they try to please us every way they can.
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