The shocking flood of recent animal cruelty cases in our community may represent just the tip of the iceberg. There is no doubt that untold numbers of animals are suffering right now, beaten or starved behind closed doors, cramped in crates, tied to garages and locked in basements and attics.
In memory of Caine the pit bull and countless other animals who have suffered horribly at the hands of animal abusers, let’s “Raise Cain for Caine!”
Call your state legislators. Write. Email. Do whatever it takes to urge them to co-sponsor and promote existing bills to elevate charges and strengthen sentences for an owner’s failure to provide food, medical care and shelter for pets. Don’t forget your local judges and county district attorneys. They need to know you support tough prosecution and consequences for animal cruelty.
If you suspect something, say something. Your anonymous call may be the only thing standing between life and death for a victimized pet.
In little over two months, these cases have come to light:
- The four-month old pup in Nedrow left out in the elements one frigid January day.
- Night Shift, the black pit mix found 20 pounds underweight.
- Charlie, the skeletal shepherd mix discovered near death.
- Jada, the emaciated pit mix confined to a crate. (Even as cancer now rages through her body, stealing from her the many tomorrows she richly deserves in a loving home, her gentle nature remains unmarred.)
- Three unnamed pit bulls found starved to death in crates at a home on Shonnard Street.
- Caine, a pit bull mix kicked and stabbed to death during a domestic dispute.
Dogs are sentient animals, and these six victims suffered greatly, not only physically, but also emotionally.
Please ignore those who chide, “This is anthropomorphic babble. It’s only an animal!” Research indicates that dogs experience emotions similar to those of a 2-year-old child; these can include anger, joy, affection, contentment, distress and fear. The denial of a growing body of respected scientific findings about the emotional lives of dogs is, frankly, short-sighted and egocentric.
Where there is animal abuse, there is a strong likelihood that other crimes are also occurring or will occur. It is possible that the assault leveled on Caine may have prevented harm from coming to others in the family when fury reportedly overtook his abuser. Although only the court will be able to determine what actually occurred that day, it is well-documented that abuse of domestic partners often takes the form of threats of injury or death to family pets. It is a major reason many women cite for remaining with their abusers.
In the face of these heinous crimes, passions often run high in the animal welfare community; we hear anguished cries of, “An eye for an eye!” The Animal Alliance believes, however, that if we are to be truly effective in demanding humane treatment of animals, we must also direct our compassion toward the delivery of justice for all parties. Somehow, somewhere in the lives of abusers of animals and people, something went very wrong, creating within them a deep void. They filled that painful space with anger, contempt, rage, frustration, rejection, insecurity or fear so powerful that they turned it onto their helpless victims.
Make no mistake, abusers must face the consequences of their cruelty to the fullest extent allowed by our laws, laws that AAGS will fight to make tougher. But as animal welfare advocates, we also must work toward the creation of counseling and rehabilitation options for animal abusers, as well as for their victims. Children witnessing crimes of animal cruelty are especially vulnerable and in need of supportive services, as they are eight times more likely to commit acts of violence in adulthood.
For the sake of the animal victims and the human victims left scarred by this cruelty, it’s time to Raise Cain for Caine against animal abuse!
For more information, visit animalallianceofgreatersyracuse.org.
TO REPORT ANIMAL CRUELTY:
City Residents: Call Syracuse Police Department 315-442-5336 or
Call 911 and request a Syracuse Police Officer
Out-of-City Residents: Call CNY SPCA
Animal Cruelty Hotline: 315-454-3469 or 911
TO CONTACT YOUR STATE LEGISLATOR:
BILLS IN THE NYS LEGISLATURE:
A.2484/S.2935 http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=%0D%0A&bn=2484&term=2015 would create a statewide registry for convicted animal abusers to ensure they can never adopt or purchase an animal again and that they receive psychological evaluation and treatment.
A.1738/S.2949 http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=%0D%0A&bn=A1738&term=2015would make it a felony for intentionally failing to provide adequate shelter, hydration, or proper sustenance for a dog. Currently, under the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law, it’s just a violation which carries a maximum fine of $100. This legislation will make state law on this fall into line with the punishment for Buster’s Law — up to two years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
A.0352/S.0321 http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=%0D%0A&bn=352&term=2015 (Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill) would improve enforcement by placing animal crimes under the Penal Code (criminal law), transferring from Agriculture and Markets Law. The Penal Code is familiar, accessible, and taught to law enforcement personnel.
A.01679/S.04647 http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?default_fld=%0D%0At&bn=A.01679&term=2015 would restrict the performance of surgical devocalization procedures on dogs and cats.
A.03622/S.00098 http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg/?bn=A03622&term=2015 would require research dogs and cats at certain facilities to be offered for adoption through private placement.