Following a recent tragic event of animal cruelty in Lincoln County’s town of Skanawan, it’s time to pause and consider why a community should be concerned about such acts.
Most reported cases of animal cruelty are neglect and lack of ample food, water or shelter. While these cases are disturbing, even more so are those reports that indicate intentional harm to an animal. Infliction of pain and suffering or death to any living creature is always alarming. Aside from the empathy for the animal, the act itself tends to point towards signs of psychological distress and is a possible indicator of additional future violence on the part of the abuser. For instance, many serial killers and sexual predators, such as Jeffery Dahmer and Ted Bundy, share a history of animal abuse in their childhood.
Cruelty to animals should be a red flag to everyone. Early intervention is the key to preventing prospective traumas. Communities, authorities and courts that shrug off animal abuse as a minor offense are ignoring a time bomb. Study after study shows a connection between animal abuse and other reprehensible criminal acts.
What can we do locally?
If animal abuse is suspected, it must be reported. The sooner it is caught and underlying causes for the mistreatment are dealt with, the greater the likelihood of avoiding the consequences. In other cases, where an animal death has already occurred, work to support conviction of the criminal or criminals. A strong sentence sends a message to other potential offenders that this kind of treatment of animals and people will not be tolerated in our community.
Mistreatment of animals is sometimes the first phase in a line of abusive behavior toward other helpless individuals and creatures. The cost of ignoring this behavior is far too great to be ignored.