Should Animal Abuse be Considered a Violent Crime?

by as published on OneGreenPlanet.org

“When we consider the harm done to animals as equal to the harm done to members of our own species, we can begin to change cultural perceptions of animals…”

Naysa with bullet wound to head Rescued June 9, 2007 ~ photo courtesy of Habitat for Horses

As news reports and undercover investigations reveal, animal abuse occurs with troubling regularity in the United States. No species of animal seems to be immune from this cruelty: from companion animals to circus animals to farmed animals, animal abuse is an increasingly concerning issue.

Perhaps more concerning is how little protection and justice animals are afforded under the law. Very often, animal abuse is simply ignored by authorities. When it is charged as a crime, defendants often get away with insignificant misdemeanor convictions and trivial fines as their only punishment. For example, a New Jersey woman who starved her dog, stuffed him into a trash bag, dumped him into a garbage disposal, and left him to die only received a $2,000 fine and 18 months of probation for her crime. In another case, workers who viciously kicked, stomped on, and beat dairy cows at an Idaho dairy farm received nothing more than minuscule $500 fines.

These disproportionate results may be because historically, animal abuse has not been considered a particularly serious crime. However, there are a number of reasons why animal abuse should be taken much more seriously and considered a “violent crime” deserving of stronger punishment.

What is a “Violent Crime?”

A “violent crime” is one where the victim of the crime is harmed by or threatened with violence. Under U.S. law, violent crimes include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, and assault. Such crimes are considered especially serious and are thus closely tracked by law enforcement and typically punished more harshly than other crimes.

Currently, a violent crime only qualifies as such if the victim of the crime is a human being. This means that an act of violence committed against an animal – no matter how egregious – is not technically considered a violent crime, and it is not punished as such.

Why Isn’t Animal Abuse Currently Considered a Violent Crime?

Astonishingly, animals are still considered property under the law, much the same as a table or chair. Because violent crimes contemplate harms committed against people and not against property, animal abuse does not qualify as a violent crime, despite the fact that animal abuse very obviously involves violence.

Instead, animal abuse is often treated as an infraction or low-level misdemeanor, typically punished by no more than a fine and probation.

Animal Abuse Should be Considered a Violent Crime!

There are a number of very important reasons that animal abuse should be considered a violent crime in our legal system.

First, we know based on personal experience and countless scientific studies that animals are not things. They are nothing like other “property” such as tables and chairs. Animals are sentient beings with the ability to feel a range of emotions, and they are harmed both physically and psychologically by violent abuse, much as human beings are. They deserve to be treated under the law as the complex creatures that they are.

According to a report made by the family lawyers Melbourne team, animal abuse is strongly linked with other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence and child abuse. One study found that animal abuse occurred in 88 percent of homes where child abuse had been discovered. Another study found that up to 83 percent of women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abusers also abuse the family pet. In fact, animal abusers are five times more likely to abuse people…(CONTINUED)

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/should-animal-abuse-be-considered-a-violent-crime/

11 comments on “Should Animal Abuse be Considered a Violent Crime?

  1. Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the human infliction of suffering or harm upon non-human animals, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.

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  2. Animal abuse in any form is a violent crime to the living,whether it be the animal species or human race; it has been documented that people who hurt animals will hurt people next in most cases, and it needs to be treated a true violent crime in any case!

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  3. They should be thrown to jail all thosr who are violent to animals!! And they should not be allowed to keep anykind of animals ever again!

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  4. YES. BECAUSE: Serial killers and violent crimes offenders often start with Animal Abuse and since it’s NOT a Violent Crime now they are overlooked until they Destroy Lives of innocent people and Kill People. Often a child or spouse talks of their Domestic abuse with tales of innocent animals being shot, cut or starved to death even beaten to show them what will happen if they tell on an abuser. If animal crimes become VIOLENT crimes which carry felonies and indicate that they are also human abusers it could change the trajectory of the Criminal Justice System in preventing major crimes before humans are the victims.

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    • I think(like many else ) that there must be changes and new laws in many areas in this world, if no one never yell Stop then all animal abuse and violence only get worse. And all children may belive its okay to beat animals. So why dont anybody do anything??

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  5. The true reason animal crimes were Never considered VIOLENT is Not as they describe. The Factual reason is simple. Animals were animals during every decade that passed. Some were revered and others Disposed of. When animal laws were being considered every person creating laws realized they themselves or someone they know would be guilty because they were just animals and treated as such. So they knew they didn’t want to be tried for an “animal Crime”. Most horse trainers used VIOLENT measures including beatings and barbed wire was used as bits to control mules, they didn’t want to told to stop. They felt as though if they no longer cared about a Pet just tossing it outside to fend for itself was measure enough after it was just an animal. People brutalized animals to load them, to get them, short tempers flared and of course it was the animals fault, absolutely. Sick as it is it’s the truth. People wanted to be unregulated and do as they wished, slaughter was worried they would be forced to close as abuse was it’s forte, ranchers who Bronco rode horses to prove manhood and rodeos and as well show people who would get out of sorts with a misbehave animal regardless what type of beast did t want to be charged. Agriculture screamed laws would destroy their industry. Horse trainers refused to amend their abuse. Not to mention the helping not some get from power over a lesser being.No, they didn’t want laws to tell them about their wives or children let alone a lowly animal. In fact, many people really get angry about ownership is their right to keep alive or kill their animals and don’t want the right to kill removed. It is akin to mental health disorders, control, narcissists, but they don’t want You to tell them what they do is Wrong.. after all they always have done it.

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  6. Yes, especially in KY where animal abuse laws are the most lacking of all states. It seems Farn Bureau and Big ag are to blame.

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    • Barbara, the Farm Bureau and “Big Ag” exist because they support the consumer demand for commodification of animals. If the demand disappeared, so would they, along with a lot of abusive, dehumanizing practices. But billions of more hungry people are certainly coming.

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  7. Yes. People inclined this way abuse animals because they can; penalties are not as high as for harming other humans. Even so, we harm each other on a daily, even hourly, basis. Cruelty to animals should be seen as a violent crime, criminal behavior, a warning sign of future criminal behavior, and in some cases, sociopathic. In the past, and maybe even still, people were actually taught and socialized to believe that animal life was ‘not important’, they don’t feel pain like we do, or abuse to animals is a normal part of growing up. I actually read that somewhere. God help us if it is.

    I’m tired of reading excuses for why people are violent. I know that in many cases there’s a reason, but I truly believe some people are just born that way.

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