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

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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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Eli15 said...
Jun. 5, 2010 at 10:20 pm

I am sooo against animal cruelty but when im asked what i think about zoos i dont know what to say. Does this mean i am not truly against animal cruelty? It makes me sick in the stomach but i think that zoos arnt as bad as people. Please tell me your honest opinion cause i dont know what to think


Jennifer E. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 6, 2010 at 12:11 pm
I actually have the exact same conflict as you do, so I really don't have any words to make you feel any better unfortunately :( I don't know enough facts about zoos' treatment of animals to be able to make a solid statement about my position on them concerning animal cruelty. Maybe I'll do some research and write another article focusing on that :/
JJGG replied...
Oct. 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm
In my opinion, it depends, on the animal involved. Animals like Dolphins have been shown to be aware and displeased with captivity. Others, like many types of herd animals, seem not to care one way or another (many aren't even aware that they are captive).
Kairi_McEwin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 27, 2010 at 8:05 am
I love animals. I would risk my life to save any animal, even a mouse! I hate the fact that people think this is OK!!! I will not allow this to happen!!!!
lalaland said...
May 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm
Animal cruelty is wrong! What is wrong with you people. We shouldnt eat these creatures they are just like us. SO DEAL WITH IT!!! k? cuz alot of people are doing the wrong thing. Stand up and fight with me about animal cruelty. it  is the wrong thing to do and it should never be done.
Iiiiiiii replied...
Oct. 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Chloe sunshine replied...
Dec. 7, 2011 at 10:41 am
you are very mean to animals and you are negative against animals if you say theyy dont have feelings like we do. Hateful thing is what you are.
Sarahcuda said...
May 15, 2010 at 9:59 pm
PETA-People Eating Tasty Animals - All of God's creatures look best next to the mashed potatos and gravy!
lalaland replied...
May 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm
You discust me!
Mia54 replied...
Nov. 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm
You are just causing trouble. I suggest you do some research and realize that not every vegetarian or person who cares about animals is a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Seriously, get a life.
Sarahcuda replied...
Nov. 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm
Wow . . . I "discust" you? This prooves that you truly do live in 'LaLaLand.'
The Good Lord placed animals on Earth for our consumption. He provides us with incredible nutrients that all of these wacko vegans and vegetarians are missing out on!
jennyxleigh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm
You are completely missing the point of this article Sarahcuda. The Lord stating that He put animals on this earth for our consumption has absolutely nothing to do with animal cruelty in the sense that I am discussing it in this essay. If you want to discuss such things, find an article that is relevant to that topic rather than harassing my readers.
cook said...
May 13, 2010 at 2:32 pm
you are wrong god created everything weather you like it or not animal cruelty is wrong. accept that.
cook said...
May 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm
i agree don't let animal abuse go on end it i will help e mail me so we all can fight this.
Wolfman said...
May 7, 2010 at 10:30 am
I agree with this article,these beautiful and mis understood creatures should be loved not hated. It kills me when i see animals hurting,I have a conection with animals,if I see them hurting i start hurting.I will help fight to keep these animals safe and to love them with all my heart no matter what they do. Just remember this, If not you,WHO? If not now,WHEN? Stand up with me and fight!
deydeylol said...
May 3, 2010 at 4:56 pm
what you wrote is so true and i wish animal abuse could stop and for owners to stop being so ignerent and take care of their pets also for owners if their not going to take care of them to leave them and to stop reproducing so many animal if there just going to be abuse.
GoVegan said...
May 1, 2010 at 3:19 am
I just think that you can't really care about animals (such as cows, pigs and chicken) and at the same time accept that they are killed (or have to suffer) just for your food. I agree that it's great to write and inform people about this issue, but at the same time I can't take anyone seriously who says he loves animals AND eats them.
seaheart replied...
Jun. 7, 2010 at 6:25 pm
I hope animl curelty will stop
Ryan said...
Apr. 29, 2010 at 2:38 pm
What do you mean "as much as you pretend"? I myself am a vegetarian and have been so for about five years, but whether or not she is a vegan or vegetarian is none of your concern. Insinuating that she doesn't care about animals for this sole reason is completely insolent and makes you (whoever you are since you don't have an account either) a coward. It's great that you're a vegan, but you have no right to go around and criticize others.
Ryan replied...
Apr. 29, 2010 at 2:39 pm
By the way, this was aimed at GoVegan. I thought I hit the "Reply" button, but I guess I didn't.
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